Unsafe and overcrowded 60-bed hostel ordered to cease operating by Greenwich Council

Monday, January 11th, 2016 - Royal Borough of Greenwich

A hostel, which crammed 60 beds into two upper floors, has been told it must cease operating following enforcement action by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

The Ordnance Arms in Beresford Square, Woolwich, lost an appeal last month against a planning enforcement notice issued by the council for developing its hostel without permission. The site included two floors providing hostel accommodation with 60 beds.

Officers in the council’s private rented sector team had raised concerns about poor safety and living standards.

Now the hostel owners have been ordered to cease the use of the first and second floors as a hostel in the next three months or face prosecution.

Inspectors from the Planning Inspectorate dismissed an appeal by the hostel owners against an original planning enforcement notice issued by the Royal Borough in 2014.

The planning inspector found there were inadequate toilets, showers, living space and kitchen facilities for the number of people in the property. It was agreed that the hostel had not provided adequate measures to allow disabled people to access the building and make full use of the facilities. There were also issues relating to fire safety, waste disposal and recycling.

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, said:

The vast majority of local accommodation meets very high standards and contributes towards the Royal Borough’s status as a world class destination for visitors.

Unfortunately a small minority in the industry fail to provide satisfactory and safe living conditions and in cases such as this, the Council will always take decisive action to protect residents and visitors. The hostel will now comply with our notice and stop operating an unsafe inadequate service on its two upstairs floors, or face legal action by the Council.

Local residents or landlords with planning enforcement enquiries can email