Residents and neighbours unite to object to proposed Premier Inn Euston extension plans

the depressing and low light view from one room in Somerton House after the exentsion of Premier Inn Euston is complete
Artists impression of the depressing and devoid of natural light view from Somerton House after the extension of Premier Inn Euston is complete.

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 Safety

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.

Public Safety

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.

Privacy

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.

Building noise

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.

SHRA meet Premier Inn owner Whitbread about the development of the Premier Inn London Euston Hotel

A plan of the proposed development
Whitbread PLC

Premier Inn want to build two floors of bedrooms along their Euston Road site, with an additional seven floors stretching into the rear car park.

We received a talk and presentation from the team managing the proposed development to the Premier Inn London Euston hotel.

Whitbread, the company that owns Premier Inn, told us:

  • They want another 67 bedrooms, with a 250 seat restaurant.
  • They want to add two floors to the Euston Road side, and build a 7 floor annex in the carpark.
  • They think the development will take 1 year 3 months (65 weeks)
  • Planning applications are imminent to Camden Council. 

We’ve since held an on-site meeting with Whitbread’s project managers in the carpark to raise current on-going concerns over fire safety, health & safety, right of access and logistics.

We said that these issues have been ongoing for several years, and show no signs of abating. We asked why things would be better in the future but did not receive solid answers.

The website created for the development where you can view the proposed plans is available here https://onedukesroadextension.co.uk

If you think the development will affect you, please contact our secretary.

We’ll let everyone know when the full planning application has been submitted.

Duke’s Road’s Dangerous

Residents, neighbours and visitors to Somerton House are concerned at the dangerous increase in fast moving motor traffic through Duke’s Road.

Pedestrian safety concerns arise from; traffic exiting from Euston Road into Duke’s Road, and traffic entering Duke’s Road against the one way system from Burton Street and Flaxman Terrace.

Somerton House Residents’ Association raised residents concern with Camden Council, Transport for London and King’s Cross Police SNT.

SHRA also raised concerns with The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) and the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) asking motorcycle couriers not to ride against the one way system through Duke’s Road as a short cut onto Euston Road.

TFL have carried out a consultation and intent to install a green man pedestrian crossing on Duke’s Road in December this year 2019. Camden Council and King’s Cross Police SNT have yet to respond.

TDL, who are currently in dispute with their couriers said they would inform them not to use Duke’s Road as a short cut. The IWGB courier branch have yet to respond.

Air Con Noise Disturbance

Roof plant near residents windows

Residents raised several complaints about noise pollution coming from local roof air conditioning equipment disturbing them in their homes, especially at night.

Somerton House Residents’ Association identified the noise comes from two nearby buildings; The Premier Inn Euston (PIE) 1 Duke’s Road/ 141 Euston Road and The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) 1 Mabledon Place. 

SHRA contacted TDL building manager who identified and resolved the noise issue emanating from their 5th floor air conditioning plant. 

SHRA contacted PIE management about the ongoing noise coming from air conditioning units on the hotel roof (5th floor) outside East facing flats of Somerton House. PIE management and Gerald Eve property management acknowledge there is a noise issue from the roof air conditioning equipment and are working to resolve. 

SHRA reminded PIE and Gerald Eve the noise issue has been an intermittent long running nuisance since installation during hotel expansion construction in 2007 and a resolution is required ASAP. We will raise again at our next meeting with PIE management on 20th June.

If you are affected by noise from roof air conditioning units in your flat please contact SHRA Secretary John by email, or via the website contact form.

Carpark Security Gates

Somerton House Residents’ Association with the support of Premier Inn manager Sherwyn Gonsalves requested for new security gates to be installed to our shared carpark.

Residents raised with SHRA a continued rise in rough sleeping, drug abuse and anti social behaviour in the carpark and surrounding area over the past years.

SHRA attended an onsite meeting with Whitbread, Premier Inn and property management company Gerald Eve to discuss resident access and carpark security gates operations with the installing contractor.

We’re pleased Whitbread have installed the new security gates and that the gates are now operational for pedestrian and vehicle access .

Camden in Bloom 2018

Somerton House Residents’ Association entered ‘Best Green Corner’ in Camden in Bloom community gardening competition. 

We were very pleased our green space and reclaimed garden entrance planters won 1st prize for Best Green Corner in Camden in Bloom 2018, bettering our 2nd prize win in 2010.

SHRA were invited to afternoon tea with the Mayor of Camden, Cllr Jenny Headlam-Wells and Camden in Bloom Winners in the Mayor’s Parlour to receive our prize and certificate from the Mayor.

Thanks to everyone for support, Residents, Camden Garden Centre, Camden Council, local neighbours and Camden Film Office for donation towards SHRA planters and green corner. Big thanks to Alara Health Store and The Camden Garden Centre for our prize.

Our winners certificate

Premier Inn and Costa Coffee Euston Deliveries

Duke’s Road  London WC1

SHRA met with David McKenna and Alison Forrester from TFL, Louise McBride from Camden Council and the Premier Inn area manager to discuss the dangerous junction at Duke’s Road, Euston and Road and Churchway; and HGV deliveries to the Premier Inn and Costa Coffee Euston.

SHRA had raised concerns about large single crewed HGV’s reversing into and out of Duke’s Road, reversing across a footway on blind corner beside The Place dance school, and making multi point turns across St Pancras Churchyard.

At the meeting on 21/09/2017, held on Duke’s Road, TFL reiterated no unloading at any time on the red route. Camden reiterated no unloading at any time on double yellow lines and kerb markings.
TFL said they are planning to install a pedestrian crossing at the Duke’s Road / Euston Road junction within the next five years.
Camden said they will repaint the double yellow lines and kerb markings and will monitor the situation.

Since the August meeting, Camden Council have repainted one side of Duke’s Road double yellow lines and kerb markings.
Premier Inn and Costa Coffee Euston HGV deliveries continue to needlessly and dangerously reverse in to and out of Duke’s Road.

Appeal For Witnesses

The Metropolitan Police are appealing for witnesses following a fatal collision on Duke’s Road. If you witnessed or have any information please call 020 8991 9555 or contact via Twitter @MetCC

Fire Safety

Somerton House 32 Camden council flats, above the Premier Travel Inn Euston London hotel
Somerton House flats, above the Premier Travel Inn Euston hotel

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.

UPDATE: 7th JUNE 2019

Camden Council have informed SHRA they are unsure if the cladding attached to Somerton House is fire safe. 

Camden will be inspecting/investigating the external cladding on the 12th of June with a team of abseilers. Waits who are currently carrying out fire safety works on behalf of Camden in the building will be facilitating these inspection works.

SHRA have also contacted Premier Inn’s COO Simon, and Property Management Company Gerald Eve’s Partner James requesting appropriate reassurances/action that the buildings cladding is fire safe.