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‘We don’t want A-listers here’ – neighbours oppose ambitious plans for iconic Essex Road cinema

PUBLISHED: 16:35 11 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:07 12 January 2017

James Murphy, left, and Norman Begbie are leading the opposition of the plans. Picture: Polly Hancock.

James Murphy, left, and Norman Begbie are leading the opposition of the plans. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Archant

The prospect of paparazzi shutters clicking as A-listers waltz into the old Carlton Cinema in Essex Road has not exactly been welcomed by locals.

"We would love to see George Clooney and Amal in Islington, but if they could go somewhere else that would be great"

James Murphy

Neighbours are up in arms about plans to transform the 1930s Art Deco building into a “premiere venue” and “cultural destination” for London.

The owners – evangelical group Resurrection Manifestations – have submitted plans to Islington Council to use the building as a permanent base for their religious services while extending the commercial output to finance the building.

“It will have anything from conferences to music concerts to cinema,” business manager Prince Nuako told the Gazette. “We’ve shown a couple of films and held some conferences, but we want to do it more often and make it available as much as possible to the community.”

Planning documents detail the potential need for added security to deal with the presence of “high profile artists”, paparazzi and gushing fans.

The former Carlton Cinema, in Essex Road, has been restored to its former glory.The former Carlton Cinema, in Essex Road, has been restored to its former glory.

And people living nearby aren’t happy – they have called for a meeting with town hall planners to raise their concerns.

“It’s already a stressed area for traffic and parking, and Essex

Road is home to five bus routes,” said Jim Murphy, who lives 50 yards away in Melville Place and is the director of the block’s residents’ association.

“The bingo hall is surrounded by places where people live. There’s families with kids and elderly people. It seems to be seriously inappropriate to have a venue that can hold 2,200 people, like a mini-football stadium.

“No one wants to stand in the way of progress or fun, but it would be utterly ridiculous to have queues of people next to the doctor’s surgery or outside people’s flats.

“We would love to see George Clooney and Amal in Islington, but if they could go somewhere else [in the borough] that would be great.”


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