Unison Tower – Update

At a planning committee meeting on 28th February 2008, London Borough of Camden Planning Committee approved the plans for a ten storey tower block on the site of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson hospital for women.

You are strongly urged to object to the plans in writing to the Government Office for London. This is the only organisation we can contact to request an inquiry into the plans.

As part of the planning application process, a representative from the Planning Department at the London Borough of Camden must prepare a report for the Planning Committee to consider. In the report for the EGA site, the planning officer has lied. Here we paste the exact paragraph which is contended:

7.5.3.  Overlooking/privacy issuesThere are no significant overlooking issues arising between the development and flats at Grafton Chambers, Wellesley House, Seymour House and Somerton House. As far as Somerton House is concerned, the distance between it and the proposed Block A office tower would be 38m at their closest points. Furthermore they would be separated by a busy traffic route and there would be no facing habitable rooms.

Residents will be able to see several inaccuracies and misdirections with this paragraph:


  • It states that no habitable rooms will be facing the development. Since 1964, SIXTEEN habitable rooms have been located opposite the proposed building site, and would be affected greatly – not least by losing their privacy!
  • The paragraph states the distance between the Block A Office Tower (the ten storey Unison tower) and Somerton House. Planning guidelines state that this distance should be the closest two points of the sites, which has not been provided in the Planning Committee’s report.
  • The paragraph also states that a busy road lies between the EGA site and Somerton House. This is an irrelevant misdirection on behalf of the council employee. It would not matter whether there was a river between the two buildings – at six storeys and higher the traffic is not a concern.

You can write to the Government Office for London,  requesting that a Planning Inquiry be held, on the above grounds. This is, unfortunately, a matter where the more support the Government Office receives, the more notice it will take. Spend five minutes writing your letter today and post it to:

Government Office For London
Riverwalk House
157-161 Millbank

View the Report to the Planning Committee

Somerton House Tenants Association Objection

Somerton House Tenant’s Association have submitted an objection to Camden Council planning department. You can view it as a word file here: shtaobjection-20073736p1.doc.

Camden Council planning department have accepted the application, which was submitted on behalf of all tenants in Somerton House.

You can still join the campaign against the Unison tower yourself – by writing or emailing the Council’s planning department. The more response they get, the more effective our collective voice will be.

Visit http://stoptheunisontower.com for more information on the planning application, and the objections to it.

(this site is no longer live – works are now in progress on the EGA site with BAM construction, to build the new Unison HQ – new opposition towards the works has come from Somertown and Churchway TRA’s)

A Meeting with Unison

When plans were first submitted to the Council, and residents of Somerton House reacted angrily and fearfully to the proposals, a local Councillor contacted both Unison and Squire & Partners with a view to setting up a meeting.

The residents and the Councillor were both very hopeful of a meeting within the following week, or so. No response was forthcoming, and the suggested meeting date came and went without a word from Unison.

Over one month later, with model and photography proudly displayed, Unison, Quatro PR and Squire & Partner all managed to attend a meeting with residents. The meeting location and time were agreed with less than a week to go, so residents were very happy with their turnout of over 25% of residents. Word of mouth quickly spread the news of the site, it’s scale and the oppressing view of it from Somerton House.

Unison have apologised for not being as organised with the consultation to the south of Euston Road as they were with the residents to the north.

The proposers of the development explained their plans to the residents, along with photographic ‘now and then’ examples. Residents of Somerton House expressed their concern that the building was quite so tall, quite so close, and quite obtrusive. Although the representatives agreed unanimously that they would not mind living in Somerton House, even with their new office block in place, it was conceded by the P.R. representative that they are developing a big building, and it will have an impact on the lives of residents.

The meeting ended after 45 minutes, when it became apparent that Unison were not willing to budge on their idea, and that residents were even more determined to campaign against the plans after seeing the model and photography.

The Meeting was held on the 2nd of Novmber 2007 in the TA room at Somerton House.

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.


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 our Secretary.
Or you may write to: Somerton House Tenant’s Association, The Tenants’ Room, 6th Floor, Somerton House, Dukes Road, London WC1H 9AA