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Office block threatens iconic Shoreditch recording studio Strongroom - used by Spice Girls, Prodigy and Tom Odell

PUBLISHED: 16:27 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:41 03 December 2018

The control room at Strongroom music studios. Picture: Rob Kelly

The control room at Strongroom music studios. Picture: Rob Kelly

Rob Kelly

Strongroom is a name many music fans might recognise from album credits going back decades.

The control room at Strongroom music studios. Picture: Rob KellyThe control room at Strongroom music studios. Picture: Rob Kelly

But the iconic recording studio in Curtain Road, Shoreditch – which has hosted the likes of the likes of the Spice Girls, the Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy – might not be around much longer if a developer gets permission to build a six-storey office block next door.

Owners Paul Woolf and Richard Boote fear noise and vibration from the construction of the proposed offices– which shares a party wall with their studio – will cripple their business and make it impossible for artists to record there for at least 18 months.

A petition to save the 35-year-old firm has already gathered 5,000 signatures, and been backed by industry organisations and big names like Music UK, Nigel Godrich, Tom Odell and Spice Girls producer Richard “Biff” Stannard.

The application to change the use from storage and distribution to business, and to extend the building by an additional three storeys, has been submitted by an unknown “applicant”, represented by consultancy firm CMA Planning.

Mr Woolf said: “Strongroom employs over 100 staff, many of whom can remember the teenage Spice Girls practising in the car park, Radiohead in the canteen and The Prodigy in the smoking area.

“Our staff have played its part in building London’s heritage and now, as a result of a rammed-through application process, [Strongroom] is in mortal danger. Hackney Council has a clear choice between Strongroom’s survival or more faceless expansion.”

Comments are open until December 11, and the development could be considered by a planning committee just a day later, according to a document seen by the Gazette.

Other famous names to have recorded at the studio – which has four production studios, 14 pre-production studios and a not-for-profit café – include Nick Cave and Tom Odell.

Mr Woolf has already spent two years fighting another planning application in Hampstead, which threatened his other recording studio Air. His neighbours wanted to build a basement, but Mr Woolf believed the noise and vibrations from the excavation would close the studios to close for six months.

A council spokesperson said: “The impact of proposed developments on local businesses is considered as part of the planning officers’ assessment of proposals. This includes an assessment of the potential impact upon surrounding businesses during construction in terms of noise and vibration, alongside the potential impacts of the completed development such as loss of light or visual impact.

“Planning officers have visited Strongroom, including the interior of the recording studio, in order to better understand the likely impacts of the proposed development upon the business. This site visit, along with a careful consideration of any comments submitted, will inform planning officers’ assessment of the planning application. This will be part of an overall assessment taking into account all material planning considerations in relation to the proposed development.”

View the petition at bit.ly/2KJWp5u.

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