THE Ibis in Lillie Road is to become the biggest hotel in the borough after the budget chain won permission to build an extra 260 rooms.
It will bring the total number of beds to 774 and will overtake the Novotel in Hammersmith as the borough's biggest. In addition, a new health club, restaurant and shops will be built.
They will be added to a new six storey block which will be connected to the main 14-storey building, to which two levels will be added. Nine homes at the junction of Ongar Road will be demolished and replaced to make way for the new block.
Twitter users were divided on the decision, which was made at a planning meeting on Tuesday. Ben G wrote that it was a 'good location and only a 10 minute walk to South Kensington'. But Hive said 'who the hell would want to holiday in Lillie Road'?
Ibis says demand for the hotel is high due to its excellent transport links and proximity to central London, while planners said the scheme goes some way towards meeting the government's target of building 40,000 new hotel rooms in London by 2031.
The council has identified Earls Court as an 'opportunity area' which could become home to four new 'urban villages' should the authority sign a deal with developers, meaning the capacity for visitors would increase.
But some neighbours are against the scheme, with 14 writing to the council to object. Reasons included the already large size of the hotel, a loss of natural light to neighbouring properties, an increase in noise and pollution and added pressure on already congested roads.
While no additional parking has been included in the plan, the hotel said its existing car park is underused, while planners said most guests would arrive by public transport. A new taxi drop-off point, three coach spaces and new cycle docks are part of the application.
In the report that went before the council, planning officers acknowledged the current design of the building 'presents a poor aspect to Lillie Road' and that it has a 'dominant' appearance. But they said the extension to the main building provided an opportunity to 'improve the skyline profile'.
Further details of the design will be published at a later date.