St Albans hotel acts to tackle concerns over rooms overlooking school playground

The back of the Premier Inn which overlooks Aboyne Lodge school fields

The back of the Premier Inn which overlooks Aboyne Lodge school fields - Credit: Archant

Fears that perverts could view schoolchildren from rooms at a recently built inner-city St Albans hotel have prompted moves to alter windows overlooking a playground.

The governors of Aboyne Lodge JMI, Etna Road, raised concerns with nearby Premier Inn in Adelaide Street, after it was discovered that there were clear views of the school playground from the second and third floors at the back of the hotel, as well as from part of the first floor.

As a result the hotel has promised to switch clear for frosted glass in 12 windows by the end of this month.

But local councillor Chris White has scoffed at the complaint, pointing out that other schools throughout the district are overlooked by neighbouring houses.

He said: “The school hasn’t complained to me but I’m aware of the issue. The hotel is going out of its way to work with it.”

And Laurence Moore, St Albans district council’s development manager for planning, said: “Overlooking of the school was not raised as a ground of objection to the [hotel’s] application.”

Also, the council had not been told it was a problem following approval of the scheme.

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Aboyne Lodge was notified about the bid prior to it being given the go-ahead.

A report by council officers assessing the site’s proximity to neighbouring buildings said, “There are no immediately adjoining residential properties” and the scheme would not negatively impact upon other sites.

But, Andrew Hill, chairman of the school’s governing body, said the overlooking issue had been highlighted as a possible problem by a governor during construction of Premier Inn.

This had been confirmed upon a visit to the hotel upon its recent opening.

He said that Premier Inn had been “extremely understanding” and had agreed to help safeguard pupils.

Its immediate response was to let out the rooms at the back of the hotel last, for one night only and mainly to families.

However, Andrew said: “We thought that was insufficient – something more needed to be done.

“We spoke again to the hotel and their plan is to triple glaze those windows, with a net curtain between the sheets of glass so visitors cannot open the curtains.

“I cannot stress enough how much the hotel has been willing to do what we wanted. We will be checking at the end of January to see what the state of play is.”

A spokeswoman for the hotel said: “Premier Inn prides itself on working with local communities and as soon as these concerns were brought to our attention they were addressed as a matter of urgency.”