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Developers can build office block next to Shoreditch recording studio Strongroom - but only if they build it quietly

PUBLISHED: 16:22 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:22 08 March 2019

Protesters rooting for Strongroom outside the town hall ahead of the planning sub-committee meeting where its fate was to be decided. Picture: Robin Kelly

Protesters rooting for Strongroom outside the town hall ahead of the planning sub-committee meeting where its fate was to be decided. Picture: Robin Kelly

Robin Kelly

An office block that threatened the existence of the iconic recording studio Strongroom has been granted planning permission - but only if it is built quietly.

Strongroom and 118 Curtain Road which could be developed. Picture: Mike BanksStrongroom and 118 Curtain Road which could be developed. Picture: Mike Banks

Owners Paul Woolf and Richard Boote feared noise and vibration during construction of the six-storey block next door in Curtain Road would make it impossible for artists to record for at least 18 months.

Strongroom has seen the likes of the Spice Girls, Chemical Brothers and Prodigy record chart topping hits since it was set up 34 years ago.

Planning permission was granted at a planning sub-committee meeting on Wednesday night – but only under the condition that strict noise and vibration limits are imposed.

The case will come before the planning committee again for approval once those figures have been agreed.

Owners Paul Woolf and Richard Boote. Picture: Rob KellyOwners Paul Woolf and Richard Boote. Picture: Rob Kelly

Mr Woolf told the Gazette: “It remains to be seen whether the applicant can – or will - in fact build the development. The agreed sound levels are quite tough for them to beat. You wouldn’t be able to have a pneumatic drill on the other side of the party wall for example, let alone a big digger for pile driving.

“They’ve given themselves a challenge and if they can meet the challenge we can’t complain.”

Three sound experts appointed by the developer, Strongroom and the council all agreed that the noise levels would detrimentally affect the recording studio.

Mr Woolf has spent over £60,000 in legal fees on the case.

Studio 1 at Strongroom. Picture: Mike BanksStudio 1 at Strongroom. Picture: Mike Banks

He said: I think our resilience has won the day.

“We didn’t give up, and we kept pushing and pushing, but we spent a lot. If we couldn’t defeat the application completely this is an extremely good result frankly, and we are pleased Hackney finally got the plot.

“The councillors were strong in insisting on the preservation of culture in Hackney, and the chair was at great pains to ask the applicants whether they completely understood what they were agreeing to. There will be proper measurements in place to make sure they can build this and leave us standing as a business.”

The Gazette has contacted the applicant’s representative CMA Planning for comment.

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