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The Garage: 'Great news for music lovers' as Islington Council helps safeguard venue from speculative Highbury Corner redevelopment

PUBLISHED: 18:58 02 May 2019

The Garage. Picture: Sarah Koury / Entirety Labs

The Garage. Picture: Sarah Koury / Entirety Labs

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The owners of a revered rock venue today thanked Islington Council for assurances it will help safeguard the site in the event of Highbury & Islington Station being expanded.

The Garage. Picture: Sarah Koury / Entirety LabsThe Garage. Picture: Sarah Koury / Entirety Labs

Managers at the Garage, in Highbury Corner, have belatedly thanked the town hall for recognising it as a “significant cultural destination” that should be protected in the borough's draft local plan, which was published in November.

A speculative Transport for London (TfL) pitch to revamp the old Highbury & Islington Station entrance sparked a backlash last summer, after the popular gig venue was identified as being “within an area designated for redevelopment” and touted as a possible “new ticket hall”.

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But Islington's draft local plan, which places a strong emphasis on protecting cultural assets, makes clear that, even if the redevelopment did take place, the Garage must first be “reprovided” for so that it can start trading immediately rather than waiting for its new home to be built.

The venue's programmer, Matthew Cook, said: “This is great news for music lovers across the capital and beyond. It will help keep a vibrant musical culture in Islington and means we can continue to put on gigs by some of the most innovative, influential and exciting bands around.”

An Islington Council spokesperson added: “We've listened carefully to all views, and the draft local plan – which will guide development for the next 15 years – proposes strong protection for a music venue to continue operation on the Garage site. Islington Council wants to support local small music venues through its planning and licensing policies.”

Night czar, Amy Lamé said: “Grassroots venues like The Garage are an important part of London's musical heritage and play a vital role in maintaining London's position as culture capital. That's why we are doing all we can to protect and support existing venues and encourage new ones to open across the city.

“Our Culture at Risk Office has been working closely with The Garage, Islington Council and TfL and I'm pleased that the council is proposing to protect the venue. “TfL has already been clear that any improvements to Highbury & Islington Tube station must not impact The Garage.”

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