Duke’s Road Incident

Somerton House Residents Association are saddened there was a fatality on Duke’s Road this morning. Our thoughts are with those bereaving a tragic loss.

Fire Safety

Premier Inn’s Chief Operating Officer has told us the cladding on the Euston hotel below Somerton House is not combustible. We also have reassurances that outstanding lighting and stairwell issues raised will be addressed.

Camden Council will be fitting new fire doors in the coming weeks, the contracts manager is aware of outstanding shared lighting and stairwell issues.

Residents concerned as Council green-lights beer garden inches from front door

Unlicensed outdoor drinking occurred frequently
Unlicensed outdoor drinking occurred frequently

Camden Council has granted an outdoor drinking licence to the hotel underneath Somerton House.

Somerton House residents fear they will have to walk past drunken revelers to get to their front door up until 10’o’clock every night. They are unhappy that in front of their homes there is now a large beer garden.

Twelve separate objections from local residents were lodged, but the licensing panel were swayed by the professional arguments of Premier Inn’s solicitor.

Two local residents addressed the committee highlighting issues such as:

  • The Premier Inn’s history of unresponsiveness to concerns raised by local residents; they sited an ongoing five-year battle against a noisy air conditioning unit installed without planning permission as evidence.
  • The Premier Inn’s inability to police it’s currently licence arrangements, pointing out that outdoor drinking has been a daily occurrence during the recent hot weather
  • The detrimental effect the noise of outside drinking would have on residents’ wellbeing, adding as it does to the barrage of other noises that the hotel creates.

Residents are disappointed that none of their concerns were taken on board by the Licencing Committee. Many residents of Somerton House are Council tenants with specific health needs that will not be helped by this additional imposition on their lives. We feel the Council is once again failing in it’s duty of care to Safeguard vulnerable residents.

The Premier Inn’s solicitor’s statement centred around the fact that his client’s hotel was a “premium product” and they would not permit anything to damage the brand’s reputation. This assertion was clearly accepted by the Committee despite the fact that residents had highlighted numerous examples of the Travel Inn’s less than premium conduct.

Procedural anomalies

The Committee members were not acquainted with the unique overlapping layouts of Somerton House and the Premier Inn, and all present agreed that the diagram provided was insufficient to accurately convey the full impact their decision will have. Indeed, Travel Inn solicitor John Gaunt himself had to apologise to the committee for mistakenly misrepresenting the layout of the premises.

The Licencing Committee representative seemed unaware of the ongoing investigation underway by his own department into breaches of the current licence, so this fact was disregarded.

Residents believe these two pieces of evidence would have a profound impact on the decision and are of the opinion that the Council should have ensured these points were presented to the committee.

Drinks on pavement

Somerton House Residents’ Association Chair  corrected John Gaunt’s assertion that no open drink containers would be taken onto the public footpath. In fact the largest of the two drinking areas can only be accessed via the public footpath. Residents are very concerned that this fact will inevitably lead to groups of drinkers blocking the pavement and causing a nuisance.

The Chair asked if a site visit was possible. The panel said this was possible under the rules. We have since noted on the Camden Website that adjournments for site visits are possible.

Some minor conditions were added to the license:

  • there is to be absolutely no drinking on the pavement outside
  • there should be frequent litter picks and glass collection.
  • residents will be given a number to call if they have issues (020 7554 3400)
  • a nominated employee will be responsible for policing the outside areas at all times

Residents returning home after the hearing were greeted with the unpleasant site of beer glasses full of cigarette butts uncollected on a table outside the Premier Inn. We remain concerned that this represents the hotel’s real commitment to our local neighbourhood.

We are disappointed that the Council has again chosen to put the financial interests of a large business above the welfare of it’s own residents.

Premier Inn license application

Whitbread have made a licensing application to allow extended times and outdoor drinking at the Premier Inn London Euston.

Residents of Somerton House, and other local parties who feel that they wish to respond to this application can make a representation online at the Camden Website. The closing date for representations is Tuesday 25th May 2010.

The new license application would allow alcohol to be consumed both inside and outside until 1am, every night.

The new license would also allow for both recorded and live music to be played.

Click here to leave your representation with Camden.

Feedback from Premier Inn

Whitbread, Premier Inn, Costa and Gerald EveSHTA met the Whitbread group with the help of Ward Councillor Jonathan Simpson, to discuss issues which have arose recently. The first meeting was positive, and it was accepted that some problems have been ongoing for some time, and some have arose since the hotel’s extension works.

The hotel put procedures in place to make use of the car park and access ramp safer for all of us, and to manage delivery vehicles. Gerald Eve, Whitbread Group’s property consultant, is arranging an enclosure for the roof mounted air conditioning units. Unfortunately this needs planning permission, and there doesn’t appear to be a fast track process available.

Noise from the kitchen extractor vent, which can be quite loud in residents’ bedrooms, is being investigated. In the meantime the hotel have pledged to ensure the vent is switched off between 11:30 PM and 04:45 AM – though their timer appears to be faulty. If the noise from the kitchen vent is a nuisance to you, call Premier Inn London Euston Reception on 020 7554 3400 and ask them to switch it off, politely.

A meeting is being arranged for residents to voice their issues over noise coming into their flats.

SHTA Meet Whitbread – eventually

Whitbread, Premier Inn, Costa and Gerald EveSHTA will meet representatives of Premier Inn on Monday, 1st April, with an aim to resolve long-standing issues which have been detrimental to Somerton House residents for quite some time.

Issues on the agenda mainly focus around noise – whether it be from the air conditioning equipment on the roof, the kitchen extractor fans beneath us, the garbage compactor, recycling or deliveries.

SHTA will also touch on several Health & Safety issues which have been going on for far too long – such as large delivery wagons reversing down and then blocking our access ramp. We know the outside drinking can be a problem during the summer months too.

If the way Premier Inn, Costa Coffee or No. 1 Duke’s Road, which are all owned by the large corporation Whitbread, cause your home life detriment, and you are a Somerton House resident or live in the local area, please let us know by leaving a comment below, we’ll raise issues you’re concerned about.

Also at the meeting will be Gerald Eve, representing Whitbread’s property portfolio, and Councillor Jonathan Simpson.

SHTA has contacted the Whitbread group on many occasions, and given the group extended the Premier Inn hotel at London Euston some years ago, issues have dragged on for quite so long that we’ve taken official steps to try to force Whitbread to remedy the situation. This includes speaking to the lisensing, planning, environment and health & safety departments of the Council regarding the day-to-day running of the Hotel cum coffee shop and bar, as well as the London Fire Brigade over serious fire safety concerns we share.

We’re used to living in the centre of such a big and vibrant city, and we know all too well how noisy, and intrusive living in such a unique area can be. We also take the area, the historical importance of it, and the times where we can rest and recuperate, very seriously indeed!

The date? No, we’re not giving you an April Fool early. We really are meeting with them, after all this time!

Premier Inn London Euston – SHTA making progress

SHTA has made positive steps in addressing the noise pollution issues arising from the Permier Inn London Euston.

A filter has been installed on the extractor fan limiting some of the noise emanating from the car park level.

Permier Inn staff have been instructed not to operate the garbage crusher after 8pm.

Despite numerous requests from SHTA and the hotel management the Sunlight delivery company continues to wake residents at unreasonable hours and block the communal driveway with their noisy vans. We are talking to Sunlight laundry services and hope to make progress regarding this matter very soon.

Whitbread plc, which owns Premier Inn, employs Gerald Eve as property consultant and management company. We are expecting a representative to meet us very soon to discuss several issues:

  • Costa Coffee’s use of the front access ramp – including the partition section removed to give customers and staff a short-cut.
  • The lack of acoustic shielding around the roof and kitchen air conditioning plant
  • The use of the communal drive as a loading bay and blocking access to emergency vehicles.

Gerald Eve really need to act soon, to resolve these issues, thereby improving the quality of life for all residents of Somerton House

At a recent meeting with hotel manager Stephen Luck and the hotel Housekeeping Manager, SHTA was assured that the Somerton House sign will be repositioned shortly. It is currently obscured by the Costa Coffee awning and large umbrellas, Mr Luck has very recently apologised for the inconvenience this is causing residents over the last eighteen months or so.

Latest Updates on progress are posted at ‘Exit Gate Locked for Safety’  in Communal Living and News.

Travel Inn Euston – Construction

Earlier today we met a representative of KHK Group, the construction consultancy dealing with the conversion of the Travel Inn hotel’s disused petrol station on Euston Road. Their objective is to convert the space into new bedrooms for the hotel, in time for Christmas.

It is very bad that we were not consulted as a building prior to the building work commencing, and we have ensured that all parties involved are aware that we have had no consultation, to which we were entitled, and no advance warning of a meaningful type.

13082007.jpg

Between us, we have agreed the following:

  1. That noisy working hours would be Monday to Friday from 09.00 until 17.00
  2. That there would be no weekend work, provided that the works kept to schedule, if over schedule that a review would be held with consideration towards the local residents.
  3. That a schedule of works was posted on the notice board two weeks in advance showing what works where about to start giving residents time to prepare of the disturbance and to know how long this disturbance would last. ( this will be posted and emailed to the TRA )
  4. That the pile driving would be screwed in rather than hammered, to reduce the noise levels.
  5. That should there be excessive wind for a sustained time, that was carrying dust and debris toward Somerton House that a review of said works would be carried out, to abate this.
  6. That a contact point with the builders is achieved. i.e contact number for the site foreman etc.
  7. That once during and again on completion of works, that the windows, frames and grey panelling of SH will be washed down and cleaned.
  8. That a written apology is requested from Travel Inn/Whitbread, to the residents of SH for lack of consultation.
  9. That the builders would be considerate towards the local residents.
  10. That communication between parties would be updated minimum of every two weeks.

If you have any further concerns or queries, please email shta@shta.co.uk
Or you may write to: Somerton House Tenant’s Association, The Tenants’ Room, 6th Floor, Somerton House, Dukes Road, London WC1H 9AA