Revised plans for a new Hilton Hotel near St Paul's Cathedral have drawn accusations it will be more "downmarket" than the luxury stay originally approved by City planners.
A swimming pool has vanished, the number of restaurants on offer has shrunk to one and bedrooms have been added to the basement in the latest blueprints.
Planning permission was granted last October for a 132-room hotel in the St Paul's Cathedral conservation area.
The developer asked City of London Corporation planning chiefs for approval of its new plans. They included increasing the number of rooms to 152, by adding some rooms to the basement and extending the internal courtyard.
The changes would also see the spa area become a gym only, and the retail floorspace halved by the removal of a restaurant from the plans. A smaller restaurant would instead be provided at Ludgate Square.
20 people wrote to the council objecting to the changes. A representative for the resident of a top floor flat at Lambert House told last Monday's planning committee his client did not object to the hotel, but was concerned about the potential use of the roof and courtyard as well as the addition of basement rooms.
“A beautiful scheme of 133 bedrooms was approved last year and this proposal takes it downmarket… we ask members to ensure this doesn’t take place,” he said.
Councilman Marianne Fredericks said the committee members had been told there had been years of detailed design work in the plans presented last October.
"I don't think this is the high-class hotel we were sold last year and I'm extremely disappointed this is coming forward with a recommendation [from planning staff]."
Cllr Sylvia Moys said she didn't think customers expected a hotel catering to business clients to have large rooms, adding she thought it made sense for the hotel to reduce its restaurant offering, as there were plenty for guests nearby.
"People don't stay in. You want to go out in the streets and potter around in the support area."
Planning consultant DP9's director Richard Ward confirmed demolition works had begun. He said the key design respected nearby residents' amenities, adding that the developer had involved a new architect, which had led to some of the changes in the concept.
Mr Ward rejected descriptions of the hotel as "downmarket," saying a deal had been signed with the Hilton for a "four star-plus" product.
He welcomed planning assessments provided to the committee which found there would not be adverse light or noise levels, adding roof and courtyard access would be for maintenance and emergencies only.
Committee chairman Chris Hayward said the committee had to decide whether the changes impacted on local residents and amenities, not whether the concept was luxurious enough.
"As members know, hotels sell rooms - they would go bust if they didn't sell rooms."
Three councillors voted against amendments, but were outweighed by the majority.
Developer Dominvs group welcomed the approved changes, confirming it had partnered with the Hilton's upmarket Curio Collection.
A spokeswoman said the revisions contained several "small but valuable architectural improvements – most notably the reactivation of the historic archway through Ludgate Hill into Creed Court."
"In keeping with the treasured setting of this heritage site, only steps away from St Paul's Cathedral, we are working with renowned designers to create a bespoke offering for guests and local residents alike," they said.
"It remains and has always been our intention to transform Creed Court into something the City of London and the neighbourhood can be proud of for years to come."
The Hilton did not respond to a request for comment.