southwark planning dept have, in the past, approved unauthorised works/changes of use/developemnts, when the application is likely to be approved. that is, likely to be approved by the planning department and/or councillros who get to do what the planning department advises them to. even if the local community is totally against the proposal.
So it's an office conversion rather than an illicit newbuild? Generally I'm all for planning procedures being upheld but not sure that halfway down Great Dover Street this is an egregious breach. There was never going to be a Hilton there and I can't imagine a disused commercial building as being preferable for neighbours.
Borough could do with a bigger supply of decent budget hotel rooms - as (being in a one-bedroom flat) I discover each time I need to put up a visiting relative.
I'm a bit surprised at how bold they are being, but then if the council is likely to agree it after the fact they were probably confident they would be able to carry on. Presumably they had to do lots of conversion works, I'm surprised complaints weren't made then.
I'm not sure why Great Dover Street in particular deserves to have it's planning rules waived, it's a perfectly nice street! It's also not that cheap a stay (the hostel up the road is cheaper Boroman, and has a women's only section, or during the summer the halls of residence are very good).