By News Reporters
Bloomsbury residents are concerned about a planning application which has been submitted to Camden Council for a new hotel in a deep basement underneath an existing hotel on Tottenham Court Road.
The proposal, submitted last month, is to convert a 140-space two-storey Tottenham Court Road underground car park into a 175 bedroom hotel on a site which is shared with the St Giles Hotel, the Central YMCA, shops and cafes.
The owners of the basement car park want to convert the current entrance and exit ramps in Adeline Place off Great Russell Street to an entrance to the hotel which will be at the fourth and fifth basement level. The hotel will be a windowless “pod hotel” and is believed to be the first proposal of its kind in central London.
The Bloomsbury Association are concerned that the planned subterranean building will be an over-development of the site bringing the total number of hotel rooms to 850. There are already a number of hotels nearby and they are concerned about the increase in competition between them. They are further concerned about the loss of off-street parking, intensification and extension of the night-time economy around the site, increased traffic and noise, and the visual impact on the surrounding conservation area, in particular Bedford Square.
Bloomsbury residents are seriously concerned about fire and other health and safety issues with such a concentration of air-conditioning, ventilation and smoke extract plant at street level.
“The main entrance to the hotel and all of its servicing, refuse storage, ventilation and air-conditioning plant will be at street level on Adeline Place. The car park ramps will be used as air inlet and exhaust ducts and the entrance and lifts will be built on the strip of pavement,” they say.
The Bloomsbury residents say there will be a loss of a public right of way on the site and that the owners of the car park have blocked a path which has become an established right of way.
The are now pressing their local councillors to take up the issue of the right of way. In an email seen by Fitzrovia News the residents say:
“Please take an interest in this, speak to your officers at the highest level and move things forward urgently to reclaim the public’s right to the footpath on Adeline Place.”
In the early 1970s the building that the St Giles Hotel now occupies was purpose-built as a hostel and sports club for the YMCA, after demolition of an Edwardian building. The hostel complex was partly funded by Camden Council.
The previous building had an open basement area on Adeline Place, separated from the pavement by railings. The new building filled in the basement areas, paved over them and, although still owned by the YMCA, they became footpaths that were walked on by the public and maintained by the Council.
Later the YMCA sold the building to the St Giles Hotel Group who, say the Bloomsbury Association, have steadily intensified the commercial use of the site.
The full planning application can be viewed here.