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Finsbury Park councillor: 'Build affordable homes, not a hotel, on Sir George Robey/Powerhaus site'

PUBLISHED: 17:07 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 04 July 2018

The former Sir George Robey/Powerhaus premises pictured before they were demolished in 2015. Tropics and Jonnies could also be demolished as part of the hotel plans. Picture: Gwydion M. Williams/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The former Sir George Robey/Powerhaus premises pictured before they were demolished in 2015. Tropics and Jonnies could also be demolished as part of the hotel plans. Picture: Gwydion M. Williams/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

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An Islington councillor will tomorrow ask town hall planners to stop a 182-room hotel being built on the site of a famous old Finsbury Park music venue.

Tide Construction wants to build the hotel on the derelict site of the Sir George Robey pub in Seven Sisters Road, near Finsbury Park station. It later became the Powerhaus and was demolished in 2015.

A planning application was submitted in October last year but has not been resolved. As previously reported in the Gazette, its fate could yet lie in the hands of Sadiq Khan’s London Plan.

There is already a Travelodge hotel 100 yards from the application site, in Isledon Road.

If approved, it would also see three shops – the Tropics Caribbean takeaway, Johnnies barbers and Harput kebab house – demolished to make way for the hotel. They are harshly described by Tide’s agent as “low quality retail units”.

At tomorrow’s full council meeting in the town hall, Finsbury Park Cllr Gary Heather will make a plea for affordable housing on the site – not a hotel.

“The former George Robey site in Finsbury Park ward,” he will tell Islington housing leader Cllr Diarmaid Ward, “is the subject of negotiations between Islington Council’s planning department and a private developer for a chain hotel to be built there.

“I have asked council officers if genuinely affordable homes could be built on the site, in accordance with council policy, but I have been informed this is not possible due to the location and size of the site.

“As there is enormous need for genuinely affordable homes in Finsbury Park ward, I am requesting your second opinion in this matter.”

In a statement submitted to the council at the beginning of last month, TP Bennett, the agent writing on behalf of Tide, said the “proposal suggests a more appropriate use of an existing brownfield site and provides regeneration in the best sense of the word”.

Plans for a hotel were first circulated soon after the venue’s demolition in 2015. Initially, Tide wanted to build a skyscraping 26-storey hotel. But after “successful engagement”, the design has now been reduced to seven storeys. It would also include a new music venue in the basement.

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