Neighbours’ opposition to turning listed Hoxton building into offices
- Credit: Sean Hold
Once home to the largest horse-drawn omnibus operator in London in the 19th century, 66 Buttesland Street in Hoxton – known as Wharfside – could soon be used as a flexible working office space.
But 15 neighbours have objected to the plans because their homes surround the building at close proximity.
They worry the proposed outdoor space, illumination and air conditioning unit will bring light, sound and smoke pollution.
The building is about five metres from their homes; at its narrowest point, it's only 4.2m away.
"I've probably got a broom long enough to poke the other side," said Krys Bogacz, who lives in Buttesland Street. "It's great [the owner] can make a profit; it's great he's going to renovate it because otherwise the thing will fall down. All of this is wonderful - just please do it respectfully."
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Planning permission has already been granted to change the building's use subject to restrictions on noise and ensuring "appropriate materials are used on the listed building".
Since the 1970s Wharfside has been a furniture showroom. It ran steam lorries once and was orignally used as a horse depot carrying about two million passengers daily.
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Buttesland Street residents Peter Hindley and Janet Judd successfully campaigned for the western half of the site to be Grade II listed, meaning future developers are subject to conditions protecting the building's historical heritage.
They and other neighbours contacted Cllr Carole Williams with concerns about recent plans for Wharfside - among them, that the building lacks wheelchair access to the first floor. Cllr Williams told the Gazette she had visited Buttesland Street and made representations to planning officers on their behalf.
But they say they feel unheard and disappointed by the planning process. Some attended a sub-committee meeting on June 12, at which they had five minutes to voice any objections.
"We could have up to 217 people [working in the space once it's finished] with no constraints whatsoever," said Janet. "They can work 24/7.
"The position of the condenser units and the light intrusion and the noise from this terrace - this could just go on all the time."