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Tileyard Studios: Row goes on over plans for 'office block' in King's Cross protected industrial area

PUBLISHED: 11:07 04 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:41 04 July 2019

Co-founders of Tileyard, from left Nick Keyes, Paul Kempe, and Michael Harwood. Picture: Polly Hancock

Co-founders of Tileyard, from left Nick Keyes, Paul Kempe, and Michael Harwood. Picture: Polly Hancock

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A property development firm fighting the council over plans to expand its world-renowned creative hub in King's Cross will have its application heard by the government.

More than 1,500 people work at Tileyard. Picture: Tileyard StudiosMore than 1,500 people work at Tileyard. Picture: Tileyard Studios

City and Provincial Properties Investments (CPP) wants to demolish buildings off York Way and build an eight-storey block for "light industrial" and "business" use, as well as a Big Yellow self storage warehouse.

The block will be an expansion of Tileyard Studios, Europe's largest hub for independent musicians and creative businesses, which is adjacent to the site.

The little-known Tileyard is home to 85 studios and 200 firms. Mark Ronson, The Prodigy, and Sigala have recorded there but co-founder Nick Keynes told the Gazette in January it would be forced out of the borough if the council did not support its growth.

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The site is in the Vale Royal/Brewery Road Locally Significant Industrial Site (LSIS). It is the last protected industrial area in inner London and the council wants to keep it that way. The new draft Local Plan signed off last week has a policy to protect it, saying any plans for new offices that don't come with a predominantly industrial use will be refused.

The council says it's not opposed to Tileyard expanding or giving space to small creative firms within industrial units - if it's in line with the policy, which the current application is not. It also says the plans would mean a loss of sunlight for council tenants over the border in Camden.

Before Islington could reject the plans, however, Big Yellow and CPP appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

Planning consultant DWD said in the appeal papers: "The development would deliver a significant number of important benefits, including 1,330 to 1,670 additional jobs."

Council business chief Cllr Asima Shaikh said the council had made its position clear to Tileyard "many times". She added: "What is being proposed is office space in one of Islington's last, vital industrial areas. We have very little industrial space left, so it's vital we protect it for the many, diverse small businesses that need it. Commercial interests of property developers to expand their storage and office space businesses do not outweigh the needs of other small businesses to access industrial space or residents for sunlight."

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