Objection to underground hotel in Great Russell Street

Objection to planning application ref 2015/3605/P

112A Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NP

I object to this planning application.

The cumulative over-development of the site for single hotel use will further change the fabric of a delicately balanced and mixed use area. This is a part of London under intense pressure to develop beyond all recognition of what makes it a desirable location in the first place.

The proposed conversion of the underground car park will increase occupancy on the site from the original YMCA‘s 240 rooms to 870 rooms. The consequences only add to pressures on the existing overstretched infrastructure of the area. Such a large increase in rooms with the associated support and logistic traffic of both people and vehicles will overburden the site and impact directly on existing local residents.

The planned entrance to the proposed hotel is the existing car park entrance on Great Russell Street. All the vehicle servicing, refuse collection, air-conditioning and ventilation plant will be at pavement level on Adeline Place. Also here will be the air intakes which will operate 24-hours a day, 7 days a week .This is directly opposite residential buildings and will create noise and disturbance.

The scheme will lead to a loss of off-street public parking in an area of extreme parking pressure in central London. . It will increase the demand for on-street parking through vehicles servicing the hotel and those who currently use the underground parking site.

This will adversely affect local small businesses that rely on the on street parking to bring customers and their own day time deliveries; and will inconvenience residents too.

This planning application constitutes spill over of the24-hour and night-time economy from Covent Garden and Soho. This is a mixed residential area and the proposed development will ruin the quality of life of those who live and work in the area.

The loss of open space and public access over public highway land will also impact on the quality of the adjoining Bloomsbury Conservation Area, and in particular the Grade I listed setting of Bedford Square.

The impact on residential amenity and quality of life without any economic benefit will be intolerable in a part of London already suffering from developmental pressures and a surplus of hotel accommodation.

Andrew Dismore AM

London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden