Alexander McQueen foundation’s bid for fashion show booze licence at Kingsland Basin

PUBLISHED: 07:41 25 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:00 25 May 2016

The headquarters of Sarabande, and the flats nearby. Photo Emma Bartholomew

The headquarters of Sarabande, and the flats nearby. Photo Emma Bartholomew


The charitable foundation bequeathed millions in the will of leading fashion designer Alexander McQueen is ploughing ahead with plans for licensed events in its listed canalside HQ – despite objections from its own landlord.

Alexander McQueenAlexander McQueen

The Sarabande Foundation wanted to “put Hackney on the global fashion map” when it opened up at the premises in the Kingsland Basin, off Hertford Road, Haggerston, a year ago.

Now the charity – which was left the bulk of 40-year-old Scotsman’s £16m fortune in a trust, after he was found hanged in his Mayfair flat in February 2010 – is applying for a licence to serve alcohol every day until 11pm, riling Hertford Wharf residents who live just yards away.

In a petition signed by about 40 of them, they state: “We believe that the development could become a destination area for drinkers and drug users on event nights given its attractive location, low lighting due to the need to protect bats and other wildlife in the canal area, and the fact that security within the development is currently virtually non-existent.

“We do not believe that the activities proposed are appropriate for a primarily residential development where people have children, have to get up early to go to work and have a legitimate expectation to be able to spend a quiet evening at home if they want to.”

A spokesman for housing association L&Q, which owns the listed stables, said: “We are sympathetic to the Sarabande Foundation’s work supporting young creatives and the arts.

“However, after listening to concerns raised by our residents, whose homes overlook the site, we feel that the application to provide alcohol and music on the premises until 11pm during the week may cause unnecessary disturbance to the local community.”

Sarabande held an open evening detailing the proposals on Tuesday night.

In a statement, it said: “We have been happy to reassure local residents about the very limited use of the event space in question. The space will be for occasional, invitation-only, private use and will not open to the public as some have mistakenly suggested. Public access to Sarabande is from Hertford Road only; the courtyard would only ever be accessed in an emergency evacuation.”

Sarabande funds bursaries and grants for students at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design, where McQueen himself studied.

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