The Independent London Newspaper
28th July 2014

Letters

Massive hostel generates a surge in complaints

Crowds at the Generator hostel in Tavistock Place

Crowds at the Generator hostel in Tavistock Place

Published: 4 April, 2013
by TOM FOOT

COUNCIL chiefs say they are investigating a surge in complaints against a 870-bedroom hostel in King’s Cross.

Residents living near the Generator, in Tavistock Place, say they are routinely kept up all night by fun-seekers at the hostel where more than 50 coaches can arrive each hour.

At a residents’ group meeting, King’s Cross councillor Jonathan Simpson said: “The level of noise is intolerable and it is making life a misery for residents.

“My problem with them is that they are not having any discussions with us. It angers me no end.”

Residents said the hostel – a giant building spanning four major streets – was making their lives “unbearable”. Police had investigated the use of “laser pens” shone from the windows into neighbouring homes, and people had been spotted urinating out of the building’s windows.

Marchmont Association chairman Ricci de Freitas said a “tick box” culture in the police meant they would not answer calls as “no crime had been obviously committed”.

Maurice Spector, who has been complaining about the Generator for 13 years, said: “We are continually providing information to the council and it doesn’t lead to anything.”

There were calls for a weekend of “coordinated action” where council officials would stay over night in residents’ homes to collect evidence.

A spokeswoman from the Generator said: “There is an on-going and constructive dialogue with Camden Council to address those concerns. Generator London believes that it complies with all legal duties and obligations applicable to its operations.

“Notwithstanding this, it is involved in a dialogue with the council because it takes residents’ concerns seriously and is addressing those issues in that forum.”

Comments

Dangerous Place to Stay - The Generator Hostel

The Generator Hostel in London isn't the kind of place that offers the safest experience for visitors. Its like a battery hen farm with nearly 900 beds tightly packed in a small residential quarter with inadequate facilities. Guests risk traffic accidents on arrival with have no safe place for coaches to drop off. There is a twin lane cycle route in front of the entrance where countless accidents and near misses have been seen. Add this to underage drinking, mobs of youths and continuous reports of anti-social behaviour to police - its best avoided at all costs!!

Vomit and the Generator

Compton Place leading to the Generator is always filthy with vomit on the ground, cigerette ends and litter. The anti--social behaviour is incredible. Young guests coming and going drunk and loud 24 hours a day. Living in the local area I know of no one who doesn't want the Generator closed down. Thanks to the CNJ for covering this story!!

The Generator is a magnet for anti-social behaviour

Noisy guests and coaches 24/7. The largest source of anti-social behaviour establishment in Camden. It should be closed down!

Generator Hostel London

The Generator

From the first day they opened their doors The Generator has totally disregarded local residents concerns about the noise and lack of consideration. We are sick of being woken up in the early hours of the morning by drunken hordes. Its the only way to describe the clients of The Generator. Camden Council have been deaf to concerns expressed by local residents.

Massive hostel generates a surge in complaints

Ever since the Generator Hostel, London, opened in 1995 and expanded its operation from some 200 to some 900 bed occupancies in 2013, there have been thousands of local residents' complaints concerning 24/7 noise nuisances, anti-social behaviour and various illegalities relating to the Generator Hostel, London. Residents say the relentless nuisances, anti-social behaviour and alleged illegalities make aspects of their residential lives intolerable.

And yet no enforcement action seems to have been brought against the Generator by the Camden Council or local police. Why is this?

I have been engaged in research on this topic for some two years. My research topic is:

The Generator Hostel, London and Community Relations: A Study in Grounded Theory

I believe the Generator Hostel has evaded what I believe to be its civic responsibilities with three principal strategies, namely 'courtesying', 'individualising' and 'rotating'.

Courtesying, e.g., the Generator receives complaints with politeness, says it will look into the matter, gives Christmas hampers to selected regular complainants, and so forth. However, no amount of courtesy leads to action in the abatement of nuisances and alleged illegalities.

Individualising, e.g., the Generator says that only certain individuals are affected and they will take action to help those individuals. This strategy has, in my view, patently failed in the aftermath of the massing of individual complaints filtered through the various affected local Residents' Associations that are now documenting the extent and volume of complaints.

Rotating, e.g., the pick up and drop off points for the huge volume of coaches disgorging rowdy Generator guests onto the pavements and streets adjacent to local residences is regularly rotated. A barrage of complaints from Tavistock Place residents leads to moving the nuisances and alleged illegalities on to the Judd Street residents, and so on.

Two subsidiary strategies are 'blame shifting' and 'dissembling'.

Blame shifting, e.g., the Generator states that their guests are not responsible for certain noise nuisances and anti-social behaviour; others are, the Generator alleges. However, the noise nuisances of these 'others' are abated, while the Generator-related noise nuisances and alleged illegalities continue.

Dissembling, e.g., the Generator states that it has no intention to expand its numbers and then states that it does intend to do so.

Professor Richard Ekins
Research Co-ordinator
University of Ulster, UK

Read the Generator Reviews

If you are considering a stay the Generator have a look at some of the on-line reviews. Noise all night, filthy toilets, showers that don't work, one even mentioned he found feces on his bed. If you want to spend the night with a load of drunks the Generator appears the ideal venue. I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole!

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