Union Chapel fails to convince council of threat from proposed housing

Pink Floyd's David Gilmour performing at Union Chapel. Photo: Elios.k
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Objections from London music venue Union Chapel about plans to build residential housing behind the site have been rejected by the local council.

The Islington venue had mounted a campaign to stop proposals for 90 homes of up to five storeys in height from being built, claiming they could jeopardise future concerts.

Union Chapel viewed from Compton Avenue

Officials at the Union Chapel feared the plans would create increased traffic congestion and noise complaints from new residents, which could put a stop to its concerts.

It called for soundproofing of the chapel and a loading bay to be incorporated into the designs.

However, in reference to the Union Chapel’s noise and traffic concerns, the chair of the planning committee Robert Khan said the council was “persuaded” that the venue’s late night gigs and performances would not be threatened.

He said: “We were…persuaded that the activities of the superb Union Chapel would be safeguarded and that the heritage objections could be overcome on the basis of the changes from the previous rejected scheme. But we were determined that no avenue should be left unexplored in trying to increase the affordable housing element."

The music venue presented a petition, which attracted more than 12,000 signatures, to the local authority at the planning meeting this week.

A final decision on the planning application has been deferred to a future date.

In a statement released by the Union Chapel, its directors said they were “disappointed” at this outcome but that “all is not lost”.

The statement said: “We are being supported by [national theatre advisory body] the Theatres Trust, which is optimistic that in the next few weeks, we can secure from the developer significant Section 106 [financial] contributions for sound insulation and possibly a loading area which will mitigate to some extent the anticipated congestion and disturbance both during construction and beyond."

A spokesman for property developer Notting Hill Housing said it had incorporated “high levels of sound insulation” into its design and would be improving a nearby road to increase access to the chapel.

He added: “Our plans include the provision for funds to the chapel which can be used if they would like to consider extra noise insulation in their own building.”