Gigs at the Union Chapel in Islington are ‘under threat’
Gigs at London’s top music venue could be at risk with new housing development.
The future of one of the country’s top concert venues could be threatened if a developer is allowed to build 90 homes on its doorstep, it was claimed this week.
The Union Chapel, a church, concert venue and homeless centre in Compton Avenue, Islington, has attracted some of the country’s biggest stars to its stage – including Elton John, Tom Jones and Noel Gallagher.
It was this year voted best music venue in London by Time Out readers and is about to host a gig by Queen legend Brian May.
But the Union Chapel has no soundproofing and organisers fear that if flats are built next door, the venue could end up having to scale back – or even end – its performances.
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Event manager Pete Stapleton said: “If people were to complain about noise to the council, action could be taken against us. That could prevent us functioning as a concert venue. That would be terrible.”
Islington Council is to decide on Monday whether to allow the proposed development to go ahead. Despite receiving more than 200 objections, planning officers have recommended the scheme for approval.
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Notting Hill Housing wants to build 90 homes in two buildings up to five storeys high on the adjacent site of the former Highbury Ford car showroom in Canonbury Road, Islington.
Proposals for a larger scheme consisting of 130 homes were previously refused.
More than 2,300 people have signed a petition asking Islington Council to reject the current scheme and comedian Alan Davies has joined the campaign.
People living in the area complain that the proposed scheme is so large it will obscure views of the historic Union Chapel.
A spokesman for Notting Hill Housing said: “We support and encourage the continued use of the Union Chapel as an important venue for functions and music events.
“As the Chapel is already in a residential area, the planning inquiry did not consider the issue of noise to be a problem, but we have incorporated high levels of sound insulation into our design.
‘‘Our plans include the provision for funds to the Union Chapel, which can be used if they would like to consider extra noise insulation in their own building.
‘‘We also believe that the council is considering using some of the funds that we are required to provide through the Section 106 Agreement to offer further assistance.”