Meeting Report – Hotel Developer Tim Glass from Oak Trading Company Ltd

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>> Your chance to contribute: tell us what your think on Clapham Junction station redevelopment
Author: Cyril Richert, reviewed by Tim Glass

A new development has been proposed for Woburn House, 155 Falcon Road. We reported last month on the planning application (read HERE).
The site is currently occupied by a five storey office building, of mid-20th century origin. Oak Trading Co Ltd has submitted two separate application for:

  • 2010/1620: Residential redevelopment on the current car park. The building has been designed to harmonise with the existing terrace of houses in Mossbury Road and will comprise 3 x 1 bedroom and 3 x 2 bedroom flats over three floors.
  • 2010/1455: 8-storey hotel (~70 rooms) to be build with entrance on Falcon road; a commercial shop/restaurant unit on the ground floor.

Kate Williams and I met on Thursday 27th with Tim Glass, Director of Oak Trading Company Ltd. As for our previous meeting (for their application of a 16-storey building last year) the meeting was really pleasant and we had a very good and interesting discussion on the development of the site.
Tim Glass confessed that the former application (16-storey building) was unlikely to approved, once the submission for two skyscrapers at Clapham Junction station was withdrawn. If it was to be known before they probably wouldn’t have pursued it.
As per the references above, there are two separate applications to replace the existing Woburn House + car park.
Woburn House: In the new proposal, their intention is to keep the existing structure of the building, which will be transformed in appearance, including a good quality reconstituted stone cladding system. It will be a much more sustainable building with hotel facilities but should also be cheaper to build than a totally new structure, as previously proposed. There will be 3 additional floors but the building still be less tall than the existing office building opposite it in Falcon Road.
They hope to get a similar rent per hotel room as in the previous scheme and the absence of kitchen facility should reduce extra costs as well as needs for servicing (now expected to be approx. 7 a week instead of 13 in the previous plan).
Tim Glass stressed that viability is very finely balanced, due to the substantially reduced scheme (not withstanding the above), but if the scheme proceeds it should attract operators such as Travelodge or Premier Inn, amongst others. However they haven’t closed a deal with a hotel operator yet and this will also be a key point for the project to go ahead.
On the ground floor of the hotel there is a plan for an independent retail or café/restaurant unit. In the absence of an “in house” café or restaurant for the hotel, it probably makes more sense to have a café/restaurant in the independent unit and, consequently, application has been made for both A1 (retail) and A3 (restaurant) uses.
The separate unit would be a lock up shop arrangement –serviced from the front in Falcon Road-which is a pretty common arrangement for a unit of this size (ie not very big- approx 65 sq m). There is no rear or other access to the unit.
Residential Units: 6 residential units will be build on the existing car park: three 1-bedroom flats and  three 2-bedrooms flats.
It was design to integrate with the existing Victorian terrace houses of the street and, albeit having only one entrance and extension at the back, it will look like 2 similar houses.
They have consulted with their prime neighbour who is happy with the new layout after they agreed to step-down 1 floor at the back so it does not overlook his garden.
The developer is not planning any wider consultation other than the leaflets distributed in the neighbourhood.
They do not expect any section 106 contribution, which may easily destroy the financial viability of the overall project.
If permission is granted by the council, and assuming a hotel operator is found, the objective is to commence construction in approximately 6 months. Spring next year could be a possible start.
In addition to those applications, Tim Glass confirmed that they have also submitted an application to extend the life of an existing consent (first granted in 2000) for a redevelopment of the existing building and adding a new 6th floor, to provide a restaurant, office space and 3 floors of residential apartments. Tim Glass commented that it seemed sensible to renew this permission, as something of a “backstop”, but it doesn’t provide the appearance of a new building in the same way that the current proposed hotel scheme does and probably isn’t viable in current circumstances anyway
The Clapham Junction Action Group is to formally comment on the project in the forthcoming weeks.
You will see bellow photos and drawing of the applications (click on the thumbnail to see it bigger).

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CJI editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
He is also funder and CEO of Habilis-Digital Ltd, a digital agency creating and managing websites and Internet solutions.