Planning inspector rules in favour of London’s first underground hotel

A government planning inspector has given the go ahead for London’s first underground hotel to be built, overturning a decision by Camden Council to reject the plans.

Hotel on corner of street.

Planning permission has been given for a “bunker hotel” four and five storeys underground.

Planning officers at Camden had recommended approval of the proposal to convert an underground car park on the corner of Great Russell Street and Adeline Place into a 166 bedroom hotel located four and five levels beneath the existing St Giles Hotel. But earlier this year the council’s planning committee rejected the scheme after hearing concerns about poor air quality for guests and the impact another hotel would have on neighbouring residents and the local environment.

However, after holding an appeal hearing in October planning inspector David Prentis ruled that concerns by Camden Council and local people about air quality and the impact on the local environment could be adequately managed though planning conditions and a S106 legal agreement.

This was one of several applications that had been submitted by developer Criterion Capital over the past four years and which had been strongly contested by local residents, businesses, and landowners.

“It is a disappointing outcome,” said the Bloomsbury Association which had campaigned hard against the plans and attracted support from a cross-party group of politicians.

Despite the outcome the Bloomsbury residents and local businesses felt they had secured a number of conditions that would go some way to offset the negative impact of the new hotel.

The Bloomsbury Association told Fitzrovia News they were very grateful for the “enormous support” from Labour’s Keir Starmer MP, GLA Member Andrew Dismore, Camden Councillor Sue Vincent, as well as Conservative councillors Jonathan Glanz and Glenys Roberts in Westminster.

In the view of the Bloomsbury Association the developer’s celebration may be short lived. While they may have got planning permission they are still a long way from resolving other matters which could mean the hotel might never be built.

The planning inspector in his decision stated that the application site boundary along Adeline Place is not in the control of the property developer. “The grant of planning permission does not alter any interests in property which may exist. Any such matters would be for the parties concerned to resolve.”

Appeal Decision 4 November 2016: 112A Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NP.

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