We would like to bring to your attention a planning application that was submitted to Camden Council on the 28th November 2016. The planning application 2016/6442/P proposes the creation of a “Escape Plan” business in the basement of The Marr building.
The venue would be open from 09:00am until 22:00 every day except Sundays. They will be up to 12 people in the venue every 90 minutes with light music for enhancing the customers’ experience.
As a resident I am concerned that there will be extra noise and disturbance to the residents living above or near the venue and especially the residents of The Marr building.
If you are also concerned about this application, please object or comment by the 21st December 2016 by using the following link:
or by calling the planning department of Camden (020 7974 4444) and quoting REF: 2016/6442/P
The disadvantages for the residents are:
The venue will hold up to 12-14 guests at any one time plus the people who work there from 09:00am until 22:00 depending the day. For approximately 10 minutes or more, every 90 minutes, the number of guests will rise to 28 people (14 guests leaving and 14 new guests).
As per the Escape Plan Ltd’s website: “Please arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your scheduled experience.”
“Unfortunately at present … we have limited waiting facilities.”
This means that up to 14 people will wait outside our flats every hour for 12 hours a day. Since some experiences will finish earlier than others, the noise will be constant from the two groups of 7 guests leaving or entering the premises at different times.
The people who normally attends those events will be young people “en route to the pub” as per the company’s website (Escape Plan Ltd). For example, 14 young people waiting outside our flat at 20:30 in the evening for their “experience” will lead to noise and antisocial behaviour. There are no measures to prevent the above and the residents will suffer disproportionately comparing to the company’s profits and guests experience.
The Escape Plan Ltd planning application does not have measures to prevent their guests from entering the rest of the estate in order to reach the bus stops which means there will be 28 people every hour crossing the estate (between Goldthorpe and The Marr) on the way to the bus stops and underground.
The estate’s layout/design is not suitable for the above application due to problems with echo when there is noise on the communal areas. The noise seems to be loud inside the flats when people are talking on the communal areas and especially during the summer months when the windows will be open. Please have in mind that some flats will have windows above or next to the Escape Plan’s main entrance.
In the their Design and Access Statement the Escape Plan Ltd claims “The proposal contributes to the social role of the NPPF in supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities through strengthening the entertainment provision and providing employment within the town centre. ”
In a few paragraphs later they state:
“Escape Plan Ltd. has historically attracted patrons who have travelled from outside the borough – capturing tourists and Home Counties dwellers into the area.”
It is clear from their proposals that the target audience is NOT locals but tourists and residents from all over the country which does not help the local community and it does not help the local residents of the estate to have a normal and quite life in their homes.
Also Escape Plan Ltd claims: “4.4 A key aim of the NPPF is to ensure the vitality of town centres and encourages directing retail, leisure and office development towards town centre locations. Paragraph 23 sets out that planning policies should be positive and promote competitive town centre environments, including adding variety and providing customer choice.”
Camden is already full or nightclubs and entertainment establishments that contribute to the antisocial problems of the area. A simple walk on the Camden High Street in the evening will persuade anyone about the effects of the entertainment effect on local residents.
The development policy (14.4) also states: ‘Tourist attractions may also be acceptable in other parts of the borough if they have a local focus and a limited number of expected visitors’.
The company’s proposal does not have local focus. The proposal does not benefit the local community but it will have an adverse effect in their everyday life due to noise and antisocial behaviour.
The company states: “Customers will have access to on site car parking on a prior booking arrangement but the majority of patrons will be encouraged to arrive via public transport. It is therefore anticipated that the proposed use would not generate significant levels of vehicular movements.”
Visitors who arrive after 18:30 might bring their cars which means less parking spaces for the local residents and increase in the traffic on the Camden Street. Also the company will offer “limited parking space” so there will be customers parking their cars inside the estate or leaving the estate with their cars up to 22:30 in the evening. Since there are flats on the same level as the parking there will disturbance from the noise and cars’ lights, the doors opening and closing, etc.
The company states: “1.1 The proposed change of use will introduce a new leisure use to the central Camden area which is not currently on offer. The ‘escape room’ experience is rapidly gaining in popularity and has shown to attract a wide variety of groups.”
This is not true because the area has many similar “experiences” in close proximity. For example there are experiences which includes HintHunt in Eversholt Street, Euston, and Mission Breakout, which recently opened in a converted sauna in Kentish Town.
This information can be found at: http://www.camdennewjournal.com/escape-plan-camden-pub-cc
The area where Escape Plan Ltd proposes to run their business is notorious for drug dealing and loitering. The presence of extra people and potential customers to the local dealers will not improve the situation but it will possible make it even worse since the dealers will stay longer there.
Camden Council is fully aware of the challenges that the residents are facing due the aboce issue.