BY TOBY PORTER
A historic working men’s club is to be turned into a cafe as part of a £40million five-storey hotel plan near a busy shopping street and hospital.
The London Hotel Group (LHG) has been granted permission to transform the site of the 101-year-old Tooting Constitutional Club, which has been an empty shell for more than five years.
It will create a 221-room four-star hotel a matter of 100 yards from St George’s Hospital, which has specialist units catering for patients all over the south-east suffering from cancer or strokes.
The development is expected to take two years to build and the hotel will offer rooms for £40-£200 a night.
A previous plan for 46 flats and commercial units up to seven storeys high for the plot was blocked by councillors in May 2015.
LHG has not confirmed who will be running the hotel, but says is to be operated by a “well-known international hotel brand”. The company already has hotels in Croydon and Peckham.
LHG director Christian Desira said: “Tooting is a lively and growing area, attracting residents and tourists alike.
“Our new apart-hotel development responds to the needs of the local community by creating a purpose-built community hub, as well as meeting a currently unfulfilled need for hotel accommodation for leisure visitors, in and around the Tooting area.
“The hotel will not only provide accommodation for tourists but also people who are visiting St George’s and their staff.
“We will provide quality accommodation and will also offer a complimentary service to patient’s families, who cannot afford expensive hotels.”
In 2017, Lonely Plant declared Tooting Broadway as one of the top 10 coolest neighbourhoods in world to visit. Mr Desira added: “The hotel will generate an estimated £1 million a year for local businesses, the local transport links.
“Promotion on Lonely Planet and Tooting Market makes it an extremely desirable location.
“There will also be park land at the back of the building which will be open for public use.”
Long-time Tooting residents Luis and Jennifer Pereira backed this new plan, they said: “We are all for progress in Tooting and this hotel is a step in the right direction.
“It is extremely important that parking and security are is taken into consideration when building this.”
Another resident, Subhash Mehta, said: “One of the major benefits will be for the community as it will bring in more revenue which is good for local businesses.
“It will also create jobs within the hotel itself. The nearest hotels are in Balham and Colliers Wood, so having a hotel will be good.
“But it will create more traffic in an already congested area – especially with the increase of taxis and mini cabs. In Balham, cabs loiter round hotels and this could cause friction with residents.
“There also needs to be an emphasis on security and parking, which are major issues with new developments like this.”
LHG will start building the hotel in June after planning permission was granted earlier this month.