Olympia Hotels Given Late Licences Despite Residents' Objections

Will be able to serve guests 24 hours a day

Redevelopment of the Olympia Exhibition Centre is due to be finished in 2025. Picture: Olympia

April 20, 2024

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has granted two late-night licences for hotels due to be delivered as part of a major £1.3 billion redevelopment scheme in West London.

Residents living near the Olympia Exhibition Centre site had raised the alarm about a slew of premises licences filed, including for the Hyatt and CitizenM hotels, with fears ranging from increased antisocial behaviour to noise and transport issues.

One local speaking at a Licensing Sub-Committee meeting earlier this Wednesday (17 April) said he had ‘significant concerns’ about the impact of the licences on residents.

The two hotels are due to form part of the redevelopment of the Olympia Exhibition Centre. Approved by the council in 2019, the plans include a 4,400-capacity live music venue, a new theatre, a Wetherby performing arts school and 14 restaurants and bars, plus office space and public realm. The site is expected to open in 2025.

Documents published ahead of the meeting detailed how Olympia is looking to sell alcohol 24/7 for residents and ‘bona fide guests’ across both hotels, and 7am to midnight for non-residents. Indoor late-night refreshment was also requested to be provided between 11pm and 5am, Monday to Sunday.

A total of 12 representations were received against 20 premises licences filed for the site, which as well as the hotels covered amenities such as bars and restaurants. Most of the submissions raised concerns against the premises licences en-masse, though last night’s meeting only concerned the Hyatt and CitizenM hotels.

Pier Falcone, a resident living in the area, told councillors he is one of those opposing all the licences due to fears around potential issues such as antisocial behaviour and littering.

“Most importantly, there are significant concerns around how these allegedly more than 30,000 people are expected to come and go from Olympia at these venues, will be able to quietly disappear in the middle of the night in absence of a regular transport system,” he said.

Matthew Phipps, a Partner at TLT Solicitors’ England and Wales Licensing team and speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the two hotels represent an “exciting opportunity for us, and we believe many others”.

On concerns around transport, Mr Phipps said Hammersmith and Fulham has ‘exceptional’ options, including travelling by car, Overground and Underground. He acknowledged it is ‘fair’ to assume there may be an increase in taxis, though posited it would not undermine the council’s licensing objectives.

“There may be more taxis. There may be more cars. But will the licensing objectives be undermined? We say quite clearly not.”

Dominic Holmes, Director of Development at Yoo Capital, told councillors the applicant has agreed to further mitigate transport issues by funding additional Overground trains locally, and hopes ongoing conversations with Transport for London (TfL) may lead to improved local Underground services.

“We do think [the additional trains] will help,” he said. “But we are hoping with that more collaborative approach with Transport for London, that they will be encouraged to help us and activate the District Line more, but we suspect it probably won’t be in peak hours.”

Cllr Bora Kwon put concerns about the opening hours to Olympia, amid claims local venues such as Westfield are not open as late. It was clarified by the council’s licensing officer that at least some premises within Westfield, such as Pizza Express, do have later licences, but choose to close earlier.

The two hotels were considered separately, with CitizenM decided first, before the committee moved onto the Hyatt. Both were approved, with the licences becoming operational immediately.

A spokesperson for Olympia told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), “We are very pleased that our licensing application for the two hotels has been approved. This begins an exciting new chapter for Olympia that not only endorses the strength of our vision but demonstrates our testament to supporting the event organisers and exhibitors, who have entertained visitors and customers for the last 138 years.

“The approved application combines the efforts of the reputable hotel operators and the exceptional operational estate team, who will continue to work with the community, listen to feedback and minimise disruption for residents.”

Olympia was bought by real estate investment firms Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International in 2017. Yoo Capital is also leading the controversial plans to redevelop Shepherd’s Bush Market, in which it is looking to introduce news stalls and shops, an eight-storey office building and 40 homes.

The Olympia Exhibition Centre opened in 1886, and has hosted famous events including the First Great Horse Show, the Ideal Home Show, and London Comic Con.


Ben Lynch - Local Democracy Reporter