Whitbread plans hotels for County Hall

Tourists coming to London will soon be able to stay at County Hall, the former home of the defunct Greater London Council, for as little as pounds 10 a night.

The brewing company Whitbread has signed a deal with Shirayama Shokusan, the Japanese owners of the building on the South Bank, to develop a 200- room, four star Marriott hotel and a 318-room Travel Inn budget hotel.

Alan Parker, managing director of Whitbread's hotel division, said prices at the budget hotel would be pitched at just over pounds 40 a night for a room sleeping up to four people.

Staying at the Marriott, however, will be more expensive. Rates at the Marriott in Grosvenor Square start at pounds 140 a night for four.

Leisure analysts at City stock broking firms said Whitbread had secured one of the best hotel sites that has become available in London for years. "In terms of location, being opposite the House of Parliament, it couldn't be better," one said.

There was some scepticism, however, that the deal would be concluded. Ken Livingstone, MP and former GLC leader,said: "We've had three years of Shirayama announcing this and that and nothing's happened. It's been a series of gimmicks."

Whitbread is confident thehotels will be up and running in 1998, even though Mac Okamoto, European director of Shirayama, injected caution into yesterday's announcement.

Asked whether the Whitbread deal would founder, as did previous hotel plans with Richard Branson's Virgin group, he said: "Nothing is certain in this world. It is like marriage. Who can stop someone who wants divorce? We have exchanged a contract agreement, and anyone can terminate it."

Whitbread will occupy 360,000 sq ft of space in the north wing, and an aquarium being built in the basement by Shirayama will absorb a further 200,000 of the building's total 1.2 million sq ft of space. There are also plans for shops and more leisure facilities.

County Hall has been empty since Baroness Thatcher abolished the GLC a decade ago. "The fact that it's remained empty is the scandal," Mr Livingstone said.

Shirayama, a property development company, bought the 1920s building in 1992 for pounds 60m. Financial details of the deal with Whitbread, which is taking a 75-year lease, are not being disclosed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference