Ministry asks Mayor Boris for protection

December 2013

Live events sector


Ministry Of Sound boss Lohan Presencer has asked Boris Johnson for a binding agreement confirming that a planned major residential development next to the venue in South London will not have future repercussions on his operation’s licence. Ministry had previously succeeded in blocking the plans by property developer Oakmayne to build a big residential complex next to the superclub, after the property firm’s proposals were unanimously rejected by Southwark’s planning committee, with Ministry successfully arguing that it was an important employer in the area, that it played an important role in the capital’s clubbing culture and local community, and that the planned residential development would cause problems because future residents would be certain to make demands on licensing officials regarding noise at the venue. Now London Mayor Boris Johnson’s office has agreed to reconsider the decision, placing the club under threat once again.

Presencer called for the agreement by the Mayor in a letter to the London Standard and also said he wanted a legal agreement that Oakmayne will install sound-proofing into its new apartments (as was promised as part of its planning application) saying he wants a “legal agreement that guarantees that everything that is being promised, such as these acoustically sealed windows, is not reneged on at a later date. The second thing we want is a legal mechanism put in place to ensure the current noise levels will be able to lawfully continue as they are”. The letter goes on: “Ministry of Sound has been at the heart of London for a quarter of a century. We’ve earned our right to stay here. Over the past decade all of London’s big clubs have closed as a result of redevelopment. We’re the last man standing. Do you want to bring the shutters down on nightclubs in London for good? Please Boris, do the right thing for London, don’t stop the music”.

In response, Johnson again delayed a decision on plans for the residential development pending further discussions between the two sides themselves. The Mayor has met with both The Ministry and developer Oakmayne. Presencer said in a statement published on the MoS website: “We’re encouraged that the Mayor has chosen to adjourn the decision and we’re confident he recognises that the solutions we are putting forward will ensure all parties are happy with the outcome. We have always said that we can co-exist with a new development and we welcome regeneration in Southwark. We are committed to our local area and neighbouring businesses, as we have been for more than 20 years”. He added: “As the Mayor has requested, we will sit down with the developer to work on a mutually agreeable, sustainable solution – one which will deliver housing for London and safeguard the future of our club”.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Johnson told the CMU Daily: “Good progress was made on Tuesday and the Ministry Of Sound accepted that the noise mitigation measures built into the building were satisfactory. However, they were looking for greater certainty and with so much at stake for both the nightclub and the developer, the Mayor has decided that a short adjournment would be the most sensible way forward. This would allow both parties to carefully consider a legal mechanism recently proposed by the Ministry Of Sound which they say could address their concerns”. They added: “The Mayor expressed hope that a solution could be reached that would deliver much-needed housing in Elephant And Castle while ensuring that the Ministry Of Sound, one of London’s leading cultural and musical icons, can continue to thrive”.

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