Residents in some of the flats within the Grade II-listed Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury say that their homes are damp and flood-prone, despite an extensive makeover that was completed just four years ago.
The £24 million refurbishment by Levitt Bernstein in 2006 involved replacing the garish colour scheme with the cream shade that designer Patrick Hodgkinson originally selected, and transforming the moribund retail units into a hive of chi-chi businesses — Starbucks, Carluccios, and Waitrose, et al, moved into the re-branded Brunswick, a new destination where monied folk were invited to "eat, sleep, and live Bloomsbury". From a visitor's point of view, was a success: desolate windswept spaces, previously the bleak doman of parkour enthusiasts, were transformed into a friendly and welcoming environment, complete with that staple of deep-pocket indulgence, the weekly farmer's market.
Seems, though, that in improving the ground-floor environs they neglected the 560 flats perched above the newly-scrubbed piazza. Rebecca Hossack, a Conservative councillor for Camden, described the conditions in some of the properties as "shocking", and the council has agreed to pay for a quarter of the repair costs, with the remainder coming from asset management firm Hermes, which lets the building to Camden. But residents are unhappy that, instead of the comprehensive work they feel needed, Hermes has only planned "targetted" repairs to fix the most pressing cases.