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Boris to decide on flats that threaten nightclub

by LLB Editor
2nd Feb 12 2:31 pm

Mayor of London Boris Johnson will rule on a planning application to build a 41-storey tower in March which could lead to the closure of the Ministry of Sound nightclub.

Johnson will preside over a public hearing at City Hall on March 12 to decide whether to approve the planning application for the Eileen House project in Elephant & Castle, opposite the Ministry of Sound.

Isle of Man-based developer Oakmayne Properties wants to construct a tower with 255 flats on the south London site, which has not previously featured a residential development.

But the Ministry of Sound fears residents of the proposed new development will complain about the noise from the nightclub. They believe the complaints would result in the club losing its licence and eventually closing.

The threat to the club appeared to have passed in October when Southwark Council’s planning committee rejected Oakmayne’s application. Councillors were critical of the tower’s design and cited a lack of amenity space as reasons for their refusal.

However, Johnson announced his intention to call in the council’s decision in December and would instead make the final decision on the scheme himself.

The public hearing will allow everyone who has submitted formal comments on the scheme to speak before Johnson makes his final decision.

The Ministry of Sound has redoubled its efforts to persuade the mayor not to put the club’s future in jeopardy, setting up a petition on its website and launching a #savemosclub campaign on Twitter.

Lohan Presencer, the club’s chief executive, has written to Johnson outlining the importance of the decision to its future.

He told Johnson: “If the development goes ahead it will force Ministry of Sound to close.

“After 20 years of putting London on the map as the global dance capital, residents of the flats will be able to complain about the noise – leading to the loss of Ministry’s license and, ultimately, the closure of the club.

“There is no protection in law for a music venue if residents ‘come to a nuisance’ and complain. These types of closures have happened on numerous occasions before and will happen here.”

A number of London nightclubs have been closed over the years as the use of land around them changes. Clerkenwell’s Turnmills was the first venue in the UK to secure a 24-hour license, but it shut in 2008 so an office block could be built.

King’s Cross venue The Cross also closed in 2008 after the redevelopment of the site behind the railway station.

Oakmayne says the club and the new homes can coexist peacefully, while the developer has suggested ‘triple glazing’ the first 20 to 30 storeys of the building to limit problems with noise.

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