Residents on a “very peaceful, secluded, small and quiet residential estate” in Balham fear new plans for a hotel at Balham Post Office will make the area an “eyesore.”

The plans for a 91-room hotel would build on the space between the road and the current Post Office on Balham High Road, which is set back from the pavement, and create a new smaller Post Office next door. 

In a series of objections written on Wandsworth’s planning portal, residents of Penny Mews, which is situated behind the Post Office, have criticised the impact and design of the hotel, as well as the consultation process which only involved 19 people. 

Julia Thomas said that the plan to replace the boundary wall with a railing means her “privacy will basically be gone.”

She added: “A 91-room hotel, with ground floor bar and a courtyard backing on to our estate with merely a railing to separate us, will also mean a huge amount of noise pollution particularly at unsociable hours of the day as guests drink and smoke outside.

“There will of course be a colossal amount of disruption and noise during the demolition of the old Post Office and the construction of this proposed building which will be a blight on the lives of all Penny Mews residents for several years.”

Kate Tidman added: “My main opposition though is the downgrading of the brilliant large Post Office to a smaller one which will inevitably end up being open for less hours, offer less services and have long queues. This post office is a valuable local resource and it is short sighted to even think of changing it.”

However,  Joe Wilkes said it was “good news for development of the site and of great benefit to Balham generally.”

Plans for a “boutique” hotel with 24 rooms were previously approved, but many claim a “budget” hotel with 91 rooms is not needed with The Gateway Hotel, The Bedford and a Travelodge all nearby. 

But the planning consultancy firm Sphere25 says that the proposals are “sensitively positioned and of a modest scale which does not result in disproportionate redevelopment of town centre location and does not impact negatively on the street’s aesthetics.”

They added: “Given that the existing site is largely underutilised, by being set back from the neighbouring buildings’ facades, the development proposals seek to improve the appearance of the site with high quality and attractive design in keeping with the street scene.

“The hotel use will support the existing tourism, commercial, business and leisure uses around site and provide a sustainable hotel location which makes best use of an under-utilised site. Additionally, redevelopment of the site will provide an enhancement to the street scene.”

In its response Transport for London praised the “car-free” nature of the development but has asked for deliveries to be timed outside of peak hours for nearby schools.