The twin towers on the Pentonville road have had an odd history – first they were NatWest Bank offices, then converted to the periodically troubled Nido development – over 800 student rooms. When they got planning permission for the student rooms, Nido also committed to build 48 flats for sale (on the 13th to 16th floors of the North Tower). Now Nido are trying to dodge this commitment – they want to turn the flats, which haven’t been built yet into expensive hotel rooms sometimes called ‘serviced apartments’ (click here for an example).
These ‘aparthotels’ are often let to wealthy businessmen in town for a few weeks at a time and are generally very lucrative – especially when you add them to an existing serviced building such as Nido. Nido has argued that this sort of thing will be more in demand thanks to the St Pancras effect as the area moves upmarket. This is nonsense – the real demand in the area is for new homes. If this proposal goes through Kings Cross is denied 48 new homes, Nido gets to make loads of money.
There is a loophole in planning law that encourages this behaviour. The local planning committee has been fighting hard to stop this dodge where others have tried it. The whole thing stinks and makes a mockery of democratic local planning decisions – the Nido lawyer has had to argue carefully that this isn’t ‘a sham’. The critical document is below.
If you want to object consultation is open until 27th March. The best thing to do is email the case officer Conor McDonagh (click here) quoting application number P073054 – state your name and address. Make the point that the real demand in the area is for new homes, not ‘serviced apartments’. Or you can find things on Islington’s website using the application number (click here) and object there.