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Finsbury neighbours not impressed by plans for immersive theatre show in their street

PUBLISHED: 12:34 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:34 23 January 2018

Laser House at the junction of Goswell Road and Pear Tree Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

Laser House at the junction of Goswell Road and Pear Tree Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Plans to hold an immersive theatre show in Finsbury have led to dozens of protest letters from neighbours who say it represents a “full-on onslaught to the residential area”.

People living in Pear Tree Street have only recently seen off plans to demolish and rebuild Laser House, which sits on the corner of their street and Goswell Road.

They said the proposed building was way too high, and councillors agreed, but now they are bracing themselves for another battle.

This time, it is with a company named Dot Dot Dot, who want to use the site for a new theatrical show named Somnai.

It would combine digital technology with sets and actors to provide a “sophisticated experience for guests who will navigate in small groups”. The firm said it has the backing of leading figures from the arts and business worlds including Lord David Puttnam and Lord Waheed Ali.

An alcohol licence is also sought so that guests can enjoy a drink after the show, but 30 neighbours have objected.

One said: “My concerns are that there will be a large amount of people attending the premises some of whom will drink to excess and on leaving will act in a rowdy way causing a public nuisance and causing at the least inconvenience and discomfort to locals.”

Another added: “The sound of people talking as they walk along the street in the late evening is already common and disturbs sleep, even with windows closed.”

One neighbour pointed to the recently opened Pure City development for students of City University as all the more reason for the application to be binned and said “frankly the situation will be intolerable”.

“I already have to deal with loud students and excessive noise and footfall,” they said. “There are roughly 800 living in this tower block further down Pear Tree Street.”

Some people are excited by the prospect of an exciting theatre venue in the area, though.

The Sun Cafe opposite the block has pledged its support, saying it will attract “really interesting” customers and the show will be a great alternative to all the pubs and bars in the area.

Another neighbour enthused: “The idea of an innovative production put together by leading creative talents is exciting.”

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