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Ministry of Sound safe after planning battle

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Fears over the future of the Ministry of Sound have been quelled after Southwark Council voted against a proposal to build a block of flats opposite the nightclub.

The council’s planning committee dismissed plans to build a 41-storey tower block opposite the south London nightclub, voting by five to nil, with one abstention, to block the proposal. Isle of Man developer Oakmayne had hoped to construct 255 flats in the area, where there has been no previous residential development.

Ministry of Sound was concerned that residents of the proposed flats would go on to make noise and nuisance complains about the nightclub. This could have led to the club being shut down after losing its licence, club managers feared.

Oakmayne had suggested “triple glazing” the first 20 to 30 storeys of the flats on the elevation facing the Ministry of Sound, arguing that this would help residents and the nightclub co-exist happily. The developer could yet launch an appeal against the decision.

The nightclub group has offered to purchase Oakmayne’s site and work on an alternative development, but relations between the two parties are said to have deteriorated to the point that this is not an obvious solution.

Ahead of the council’s decision, Ministry of Sound Group chief executive Lohan Presencer said: “We are prepared to enter into negotiations with the site owners which could well include our participation in the development, or even our acquiring the site. Option one is to update and regenerate the existing building. It will include extensive office and business provision, a swimming pool and gym for local people, and a host of restaurants.

“Option two is to build a low-rise mixed-used development also consisting of extensive office and business provision, a swimming pool and gym for local people, and a host of restaurants. Either one will meet the council’s own policies, fit in with the Elephant and Castle area, offer significant social benefits and both safeguard and create hundreds of jobs.”

Changing land use in the London area has caused a number of nightclubs to shut down over the years. Turnmills in Clerkenwell was the first venue to secure a 24-hour licence in the UK, but it closed in 2008 so a block of offices could be constructed. King’s Cross nightclub The Cross also closed in 2008 because of the redevelopment of the site behind the railway station.




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