Business News Legal Live Business

Ministry asks Boris for binding agreement to safeguard club’s future

By | Published on Tuesday 5 November 2013

Ministry Of Sound

The boss of Ministry Of Sound has asked Boris Johnson for a binding agreement that says, if a major residential development goes ahead next to his venue in South London, it will not have future repercussions on his operation’s licence.

As previously reported, Ministry 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.

Ministry successfully argued 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 regards noise at the venue.

But despite winning at the local authority level, a few months later London Mayor Boris Johnson’s office agreed to reconsider the decision, placing the club under threat once again. After various delays, a decision is due to be made by Johnson’s office later this month. When similar plans rejected by local authorities in London have subsequently gone to the major for consideration, he has tended to green light them.

Ahead of the planned hearing on the matter, Ministry boss Lohan Presencer has written an open letter in the Evening Standard in which he asks for a binding guarantee that if the residential development goes ahead, it won’t cause licensing issues for his venue in the future. He also wants a legal agreement that Oakmayne really will install sound-proofing into its new apartments, like it has promised as part of its planning application.

Presencer says 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”.

Both sides will now present their arguments at a meeting on 19 Nov.