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 2019/5214/P to add 67 new bedrooms and 200 seat restaurant 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:

Update, 9th December 2019: Formal objection submitted to Camden Council http://camdocs.camden.gov.uk/HPRMWebDrawer/Record/7998451/file/document?inline

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.

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

© 2022 Somerton House Residents Association