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Boris Johnson delays decision on Ministry Of Sound’s future

By | Published on Thursday 21 November 2013

Ministry Of Sound

London mayor Boris Johnson has again delayed a decision on plans for a residential development opposite the Ministry Of Sound nightclub, following a meeting with representatives from either side earlier this week.

As previously reported, Ministry, which argued that its club was important to both London’s clubbing culture and the local community and economy in Southwark, argued that the 41 storey development would almost certainly cause problems for its business in the future as residents complained about noise levels. Southwark Council’s planning committee concurred, and last year voted unanimously to block the property development.

However, despite this win, Johnson’s office then agreed to reconsider the ruling. In the past when the Mayor has moved to review such decisions made by local councils, he has tended to overrule their rejections.

As also previously reported, ahead of this week’s meeting on the matter, Ministry Of Sound’s chief exec Lohan Presencer wrote an open letter in The Evening Standard calling on Johnson to give a binding guarantee that if the development was to go ahead, it would not cause licensing issues for the club in the future.

After meeting with Ministry and property developer Oakmayne on Tuesday, Johnson deferred his decision until next month, pending further discussions between the two sides themselves.

Although there has been animosity from both sides in the past – the club’s owner James Palumbo telling The Evening Standard earlier this year that “the bottom line is if they build that block of flats, we are going to close”, while Oakmayne boss Christopher Allen once supposedly remarked that “nightclubs come and go” – it’s now hoped that an amicable agreement can be reached between them.

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 CMU: “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”.