Premier Inn owners Whitbread have submitted a planning application to add 67 new bedrooms to the Premier Inn Euston.
The hotel is directly underneath Somerton House – a council block that is home to over 60 people – including more than a dozen children. There are many elderly and vulnerable residents, and people living with mental or physical health issues.
Somerton House residents have responded with many anxieties, worries and concerns, so we will be objecting to this application for a number of reasons:
Loss of Light
The proposed extension is metres from residents windows. It will block daylight, sky view and sunlight. Our homes will become dark, depressing prisons devoid of natural light. The planning application says Whitbread feel it is acceptable for some Camden Council owned homes have over 30% of their natural light blocked.
The eldest residents are over 85, and moved into Somerton House when it was constructed in 1963 – it is conceivable that residents living here now would have their natural light blocked for life.
Fire trucks would no longer be able to access the rear of the building, or the rear of The Place dance school safely. meaning residents could be trapped in their homes in the event of a fire. Post-Grenfell and Chalcots any new project that decreases fire safety for Council residents should obviously not be approved by the council.
For the duration of the planned works, Duke’s Road will become a hotel logistics site. There will be multiple deliveries, refuse HGVs and trucks. All of these will be forced to park on the public highway; laundry and rubbish will be pushed along the pavement or across the road. Duke’s Road will also be used as a logistics and holding area for all construction vehicles. This is not acceptable on a road that has seen a recent traffic fatality involving an 18 tonne hotel delivery truck.
Premier Inn hotel customers in the proposed extension will be able to see directly into residents bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens making residents feel overlooked and less able to relax in our own homes.
Our homes will be turned into a noisy construction site for at least 15 months – that’s a year and a 3 months. This will have an unbearable effect on all residents, but especially those who are housebound, are living with mental health issues, learning, and those with newborns.
Effect on the Bloomsbury Conservation Area
The new development will be clearly visible from inside the Bloomsbury Conservation Area, which is completely unacceptable and against the Council’s guidelines. Somerton House residents are concerned that the planning application mentions changing the boundary of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area, to suit Whitbread’s needs and greed.
Effect on our neighbours
Our neighbour The Place is a world-renowned dance school. During what will inevitably turn into over 15 months of construction, they won’t be able to use their studios as they are directly next to the proposed building site. There is a risk that they will be forced out of business by this development.
St. Pancras New Church has two vehicle entrances on Duke’s Road to their churchyard. They have many events requiring vehicle access, and make an income from their car park. The church will be disrupted whilst Duke’s Road is used as a logistics area.
Language Link, an English school on Duke’s Road have a high footfall, with many young students visiting from other countries. It’s a danger that students would be disoriented when Duke’s Road is used as a logistics area.
The Bar & Block restaurant will affect local independent traders, including Woburn Tandoori and Wot The Dickens café on Woburn Walk. Cafes and restaurants on Chalton Street would also be affected.
We demand that Camden Council prioritises the rights of local communities
Somerton House residents object to this planning application, and hope that Camden Council will not agree to it. Residents in need feel that it is an example of corporate greed on their doorstep, and out of their windows.
Premier Inn are the biggest hotel chain in the UK, with more than 100 large hotels in London already. They have other expansion plans in Camden, including a new hotel on Camden High Street, demolishing the old Woolworth’s.
Help support our objection – click here to submit your objection.
The more responses Camden Council get, the more effective our collective voice will be.
Thank you for your support on behalf of Somerton House & Duke’s Road residents.
We will post our formal objection once we have submitted it. In the meantime we encourage all of our neighbours and local traders to consider what these plans mean for them and raise objections now. For further information please contact us here.