Protest as Alain de Botton’s Hampstead hotel gets go ahead

What the proposed hotel would look like

What the proposed hotel would look like - Credit: Archant

He wrote the book The Architecture of Happiness, but celebrity philosopher Alain de Botton has made Hampstead residents and a school community unhappy after getting the go-ahead to build a modern three-storey guesthouse in the centre of the village.

Alain de Botton. Picture: Vincent Starr

Alain de Botton. Picture: Vincent Starr - Credit: Archant

The firm Living Architecture, which Mr de Botton founded and is creative director of, has been granted permission by Camden Council to build the new part two, part three-storey guesthouse, which would be let out to holidaymakers, in historic backstreet Streatley Place.

The scheme involves demolishing existing stores and sheds on the site, vacant since the 1980s, to make way for the holiday home which will boast rooms such as a “Keats living room” and “Freud’s study” with a modern glass structure at the top named “Constable’s studio”.

Camden planners approved the scheme, flying in the face of 29 written protests calling for the plan to be refused, including one from the neighbouring New End Primary School.

Staff raised concerns about danger from construction traffic to its 440 pupils coming to and from school twice a day through narrow alleyway Streatley Place and Boades Mews. It fears that the work will compromise their safety.

Other neighbours described the planned building as an “eyesore” and say it is “completely unacceptable”, on grounds of loss of light, overcrowding, overlooking, and the effect on the conservation area.

At a meeting of Camden’s development control committee last Thursday, Councillor Stephen Stark, who is a New End governor, said: “Vans will be reversing within 20 feet of the nursery school.” He said that “the children’s lives could be damned for a whole year.’’

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But his calls for work to be halted during the school term were rejected by chair Heather Johnson as being “unreasonable.”

Members gave the scheme the go ahead subject to a detailed construction management plan in consultation with the school.