Greenwash stomach churner: The new Holiday Inn forecourt makeover is making local people feel queasy

By Sunil Seer

It was never a pretty sight. Perhaps they did a rush job in time for the London Festival of Architecture? Trying to impress the trekkers on the Fitzrovia Trail?

The new frontage of the Holiday Inn at the top end of Great Titchfield Street has been adorned in various shades of green and nuclear-radiated white. All different shades of green from painted concrete, lacquered pebble-dash, pale looking privet-type hedging trapped amongst bleached white beach stones. It’s all gone terribly wrong.

No wonder American tourists always wear dark glasses. Whether it’s because of shame or to protect their eyes from this sort of visual vandalism, I’m not sure.

The British Pathe office opposite can hardly bare the sight of it. One archivist commented: “New colour schemes often take a while to get used to, we wouldn’t like to upset our neighbours by judging their new appearance too soon. Upon occasion we have meetings over there. The plants could do with a good soak in this hot weather though. The flora outside the Fitzrovia Hotel around the corner always looks so lovely at this time of year.”

Are the Holiday Inn trying to compete with the Howard Johnson chain of ghastly-looking motels? With the token green planting, instead of encouraging biodiversity it’s going to scare the hell out of it. There was a flock of blue tits and sparrows hurtling in the opposite direction when I ventured over to it for a closer examination of this experiment in welcoming hostelry decor. It’s right next to a conservation area for goodness sake! Someone needs to have a quiet word with them. I’ll ask Ken Shuttleworth.