Campaigners’ joy as Old Sessions House plans rejected again

Residents around Clerkenwell Green are complaining about the Old Sessions House being developed into

Residents around Clerkenwell Green are complaining about the Old Sessions House being developed into a late drinking venue - Credit: Archant

Campaigners are thrilled after yet again seeing off developers looking to turn a Grade II-listed building in Clerkenwell Green into a late-night private members’ club.

Satlia, which bought Old Sessions House in 2014, wants to create a 1,000-capacity venue with restaurants, bars and even a rooftop pool.

But in the face of huge opposition from campaign group The Friends of Clerkenwell Green, the firm pulled its bid for an alcohol licence days before a decision was due in September, having already had one application rejected over a lack of detail.

Neighbours say the number of drunk people coming in and out of the venue late at night would cause chaos in Clerkenwell Green, not least for the people in sheltered housing metres from the door.

So when they saw Satila had returned with another application, for longer hours than already agreed, they weren’t happy. And last week they discovered Islington Council planners had earmarked the bid for approval.

But at a meeting on Tuesday night councillors overruled their experts to reject the proposals.

Delighted campaigner Leora Neidle told the Gazette yesterday (Wed) morning: “The Friends of Clerkenwell Green and the 227 residents who object to these applications are thrilled last night’s committee decided to reject these frivolous applications for longer operating hours.

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“The committee members asked some poignant questions that got right at the heart of many of our primary concerns. We thank them for their time and effort.

“The developers continue to ask for more, and we hope they will now finally appreciate the limitations given the need to balance commercial and residential needs in this historic neighbourhood.”

Another member of the campaign group, Bill Bleakley, added: “Councillors seemed annoyed that they had come back to the committee with no arguments as to why previous decisions should be overturned.”

The committee did approve Satila’s request for smokers to be allowed on the terraces and outdoor spaces after 10.30pm, though.

However, councillors who expressed concerns about possible noise disturbance vowed to review the decision after one year.

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