A community group which scrutinises local planning applications has severely criticised proposals by a property developer to expand a new hotel being built on Newman Street into a neighbouring building on the corner of Mortimer Street.

Victorian building on street corner.
49 Newman Street on the corner with Mortimer Street.

Centrale Investments Limited owns a site at 50-57 Newman Street and has started construction on a new hotel which was given planning permission by Westminster Council in 2018. They had acquired the site with the planning permission in 2019 from the previous owner, and then bought the neighbouring building at 49 Newman Street in the middle of last year.

At the end of December Centrale submitted a new planning application for the part demolition and extension of the Victorian corner building, and to knock through the party wall to join the two sites together at ground floor, basement and a new fifth floor.

The former independent commercial space on the ground floor and basement of 49 Newman Street would become part of the hotel as a reception and lobby, and a new top floor would become an extra guest room for the hotel. The footprint of the building would also be increased by enclosing the lightwell at the rear in Berners Mews.

The existing four self-contained flats on first to fourth floors will however be refurbished and remain for residential use, but with a new passenger lift and entrance door on Mortimer Street.

In response to the public consultation on the plans, the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum has objected saying the proposals are damaging to the Charlotte Street West conservation area.

“[The existing building] contributes considerably to the Conservation Area and street scene,” says the Forum. “It currently has a mix of commercial and residential uses and is graceful in its proportions and use of traditional materials

“The current application will destroy the unity and integrity of the building by altering its vertical proportions and effectively unifying it with the adjoining hotel through the creation of a passageway between the two buildings”.

The Forum also objects to the loss of the independent commercial use on the ground floor and basement and expansion of the hotel.

They say the design of the four refurbished flats do not meet the minimum standards for space set out in the London Plan, and object to the lack of housing to support family living as required by Westminster Council’s planning policy.

Instead, the Forum says the building should be “fully restored as a single entity for commercial uses in basement and ground floor with residential above with at least one larger unit”.

Centrale say they are “committed to delivering a high-quality new hotel which will benefit the wider Fitzrovia area and offer guests exceptional overnight accommodation”, as well as provide a “restaurant, bar, gym and conference facilities”.

Planning application: 20/08346/FULL | Partial demolition including rear facades and fourth floor mansard roof; a new brick elevation at fourth floor and mansard roof at fifth floor; rear extension; installation of new shopfront and windows; re-configuration of entrances; repair of retained elevations; extension of the chimney stack; basement excavation; connection of the basement, ground and fifth floors to 50-57 Newman Street in connection with hotel use (Class C1), continued use of the first, second, third and fourth floors as self-contained residential flats (Class C3); private terrace at rear fifth floor level in connection with the hotel use and associated external works. | 49 Newman Street London W1T 3DZ.