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200-room hotel could be approved at Sir George Robey pub site in Finsbury Park as housing ruled out

PUBLISHED: 17:34 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 18:16 02 October 2018

The site of the former Sir George Robey/Powerhaus premises pictured after they were demolished in 2015. Picture: Gwydion M. Williams/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The site of the former Sir George Robey/Powerhaus premises pictured after they were demolished in 2015. Picture: Gwydion M. Williams/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

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A multi-million-pound hotel looks set to be built on the site of the old George Robey pub in Finsbury Park after housing was officially ruled out as an option.

Plans to build an eight-storey, 192-room hotel have been earmarked for approval by Islington planners, who have concluded the derelict site in Seven Sisters Road is too noisy to build permanent homes.

The development would see a barber shop demolished and would include a restaurant and bar at floor level, keeping its proud tradition going. Formerly The Clarence Tavern, it was renamed after music hall star Sir George Robey in 1968.

While not attracting the star names that played over the road at the Rainbow Theatre, the pub did play host to an array of acts including Bad Manners and Desmond Dekker and was a popular venue during the Britpop era in the ’90s.

It became The Powerhaus in 1996 after being taken over by indie promoters Mean Fiddler, before closing in 2004. The building was demolished in 2015.

This summer Finsbury Park’s Cllr Gary Heather pleaded with housing chief Cllr Diarmaid Ward to push for affordable housing on the site – one of the few parcels of land in Islington ripe for development.

But Cllr Ward said: “The site is exposed to high levels of noise and vibration. We have worked incredibly hard to see if we can develop affordable housing, but not every site is suitable.”

Cllr Heather pointed out City North 100 yards away was also near the railway tracks and Cllr Ward agreed to revisit the possibility “one more time”.

But in a report ahead of a town hall meeting on Tuesday next week, officers said: “We have placed significant weight on the fact there is an acute shortage of land in the borough to meet pressing housing need.

“Careful consideration has been given to whether a hotel is appropriate. The council’s public protection officer has raised concerns the location, adjacent to a railway line and busy road, means future occupiers will be subjected to noise and vibration, making the site unsuitable.”

Original plans for a 10-storey, 220-room hotel were revised earlier this year, when plans for a music venue in the basement were also scrapped.

If approved, the scheme will be referred to Sadiq Khan for final approval.

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