Old Sessions House plans scrapped over opposition from Clerkenwell Green neighbours

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

Developers trying to transform a Grade-II listed building into a 1,000-capacity private members club have pulled an application for a booze licence at the 11th hour after neighbours objected.

Old Sessions House

Old Sessions House - Credit: Archant

The Clerkenwell Green community has fought the proposals for Old Sessions House from the off and recently submitted a stack of 120 objections to Islington Council.

And their campaigning seems to have worked as developer Satlia, which bought the building in 2014, pulled its application ahead of Tuesday’s town hall meeting.

The community had already emerged victorious once when the initial booze bid was rejected in May over a lack of detail, but talks with Satila over alternative projects were fruitless and a second application was made in August. Neighbours say they are open to change, and praised the company for respecting the building’s history, but do not want 1,000 people descending on the square.

Leora Neidle told the Gazette: “The main problem is the overall capacity, which will have a massive impact. There’s a door that will be used 24 hours a day that is 19 metres away from sheltered housing.

“This isn’t an appropriate way to work with a community.

“The Albion has a 225 person capacity with 20 people allowed to drink at the bar without eating and that is one of the largest establishments in the area.

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“This application was for 275 people to be able to drink at the bar.

“I don’t think this is the end of it but we hope they will consider an alternative use. We are behind showing some love to this building and they seem respectful of its history, but the use needs to work for the community. This isn’t Soho or Shoreditch.”

Another neighbour, Anthony McNeil, added: “We aren’t nimbys. We realise things have to change and what they are doing with the building is fantastic, it just needs to be sensitive.”

Satila’s lawyers told the council: “My clients have considered in detail the representations made in respect of the application and in particular note the representations based on the lack of a detailed management plan and the fact that the hours applied for exceed those granted by the planning department.

“My clients are also conscious of the earlier decision of the licensing committee on these points.”