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Strongroom studios under threat from office development

Bosses at London’s Strongroom have launched a campaign to save the iconic recording studio complex, which is under threat from plans to build a new five- or six-storey office block next door.

Co-founders and owners Richard Boote and Paul Woolf say Strongroom could be put of business if planning permission is granted for the offices, with build noise and vibrations making recording sessions impossible during the projected 18-month construction period. The obstruction of natural light once the block is finished would also “drastically affect” the amenity space of Strongroom’s Bar & Kitchen business, they add.

Boote says the proposal is symptomatic of a wider problem in the east London neighbourhood, where smaller, often creative-industry, businesses are increasingly being forced out by property developers.

“The area of Shoreditch has become almost unrecognisable; when I started Strongroom in 1984, there was plenty of space and costs were low,” he comments. “As a result, a fantastic and influential community grew here. We have always attracted a wide range of artists over the years: names such as Orbital, the Chemical Brothers and the Pet Shop Boys, to name a few, all had their own studios within Strongroom, and more recently we’ve worked with artists such as Tom Odell, who mixed Real Love here, Slaves with Are You Satisfied? and Radiohead with Kid A.

“We have been a part of the industry and a part of the area for over 30 years and have watched it change over time. Now we are fighting to protect our livelihood. as there is a genuine danger that even more artists will be priced out of this area, which would be a heart-breaking end to what Shoreditch once was.”

“We want to do everything we can to fight to stay here”

The co-owners called for London’s creative industries to rally around the under-threat studios, and a 38 Degrees petition is set to be delivered to Hackney Council, Hackney MP Diane Abbott, mayor of London Sadiq Khan and more.

“We want Strongroom to continue to thrive as a hub for creative industries – like it was in the days where people’s needs were more important than pound signs – instead of the land of corporate greed it seems to be becoming, which is [we recently made the decision] for the Kitchen to be not-for-profit, despite the aggressive rising costs we are facing. Now there’s the very real possibility that these plans, as well as 34 years of history, could all be lost.

“We want to do everything we can to fight to stay here and keep the area more affordable for Britain’s rich vein of creative talent.”

“The government has already acknowledged the need for agent-of-change principles to be applied whenever a new development threatens the existence of an important cultural asset,” adds Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust. “Strongroom plainly fulfils that criteria, both as a recording studio and a live music centre. We hope Hackney will take appropriate action during the planning process so that Strongroom enjoys the full protections intended by the National Planning Policy Framework.”

 


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Ibis Hotels, Roundhouse launch concert series

Four Roundhouse resident artists will take to the stage at the Ibis London City hotel in Shoreditch, east London, next month for the first ‘Ibis Lates’ session.

The concert series, a joint venture between hotel chain Ibis (owned by French multinational AccorHotels) and 3,300-cap. Camden venue the Roundhouse, will also visit Ibis hotels throughout the UK, including in Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Performing at the Ibis London City (pictured) on Thursday 10 November will be Estée Blu, Jay Johnson, Soma and Nikita Chauhan, all of whom are part of the Roundhouse’s resident artists programme.

“Our partnership with Ibis Hotels gives some of our incredible resident artists the opportunity to perform to audiences beyond the Roundhouse”

Ibis recently became the Roundhouse’s official hotel partner – a partnership “centre[d] on cultivating a collaboration that’s deeply rooted in the brands’ shared passion to provide visitors with the most fulfilling and enjoyable experiences,” says Ibis.

James Wheatcroft, Ibis’s marketing director for budget and economy brands, comments: “We want everyone to feel famous at Ibis, and with Ibis Lates we hope to give everyone a little taste of being VIP backstage with a band. It’s going to be great fun to see our social spaces in Ibis taken over for a late night with some new young talent from The Roundhouse.”

Roundhouse corporate partnerships manager Phil Eacott adds: “Our partnership with Ibis Hotels gives some of our incredible resident artists the opportunity to perform to audiences beyond the Roundhouse. We’re really looking forward to the series of gigs and programming even more of our best young emerging artists.”

 


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Concertgoers’ names secretly shared with police

Thousands of clubbers have had their names shared secretly with police in a bid to stop an east London venue exceeding its maximum number of allowed events.

The 200-capacity Studio Spaces was granted an alcohol licence by Hackney Council in January 2014, on the condition that director Yuval Hen supply the Metropolitan police and the council with a list of everyone attending events of 40 people or more 48 hours in advance. The Hackney Gazette reports that Hen initially complied, but later became aware that he was the only licensee in the area having to hand over names. He has since relaunched the venue as a co-working space.

“The conditions killed us. We got lots of cancellations from people saying, ‘We don’t want to give you the guest list.’ It’s a nightmare – we can’t run a business like that with only 40 people allowed inside.”

“The conditions killed us. We got lots of cancellations from people saying, ‘We don’t want to give you the guest list'”

Hackney Council tells the Gazette the ruling was made to ensure the venue didn’t exceed its 24 permitted events of over 40 people.

Nappter Tandy, who runs promoter Turf Series, has put on shows at Studio Spaces and says he was unaware guestlists were being sent to police. “It’s extremely disappointing councils like Hackney make unreasonable requests of independent venues like Studio Spaces that inevitably can’t be maintained and ultimately force them out of business,” he says. “One can’t help but feel this is an attempt to force night-time industries out of an area that owes so much to thriving clubs and bars.”

 


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