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6,000 sign Ministry of Sound petition against Newington Causeway skyscraper

More than 6,000 people have signed Ministry of Sound's petition against Oakmayne's proposed 41-storey tower for the Eileen House site on Newington Causeway.

Oakmayne's proposed development on the Eileen Hous
Oakmayne's proposed development on the Eileen House site. The height has been slightly reduced since this image was produced.

It is nearly a year since Oakmayne submitted its planning application for an Allies and Morrison-designed residential scheme on the Eileen House site. After a reduction in the planned height from 43 to 41 storeys, the application was due to be considered by Southwark's planning committee last December.

The Eileen House item – as well as consideration of a separate 20-storey development on the other side of Newington Causeway – was withdrawn from the planning committee's agenda at the last minute.

Southwark Council had received a letter from Ministry of Sound's solicitors complaining that the club's position had been misrepresented in the planning officers' report to councillors and warning of a potential legal challenge.

The Gaunt Street club, founded 18 years ago in a disused bus garage by James Palumbo, is concerned that an influx of hundreds of new residential neighbours with an aversion to late-night noise – Oakmayne proposes 335 apartments – could put its licence at risk.

In December Oakmayne offered to carry out 340,000 worth of soundproofing works to the nightclub.

"I believe that this, along with the high specification we have proposed to the windows in Eileen House, should address any future concerns you may have in relation to noise complaints," wrote Oakmayne chairman Christopher Allen in a letter to Ministry of Sound chief executive Lohan Presencer.

Mr Presencer replied in January: "From our conversation with the council's environmental health officers, it appears that a residents' committee could still chance our licence at any time on public nuisance grounds.

"We therefore deem a sealed glazing solution on the Ministry of Sound elevation to be absolutely essential.

"We would also look to you to cover the cost of indemnity insurance against loss of licence, protecting the club and the broader impact on our reputation and businesses."

Ministry of Sound also insists that a clear statement about the presence of the club needs to be included in all marketing materials for homes in Oakmayne's new building

The tussle between Ministry and Oakmayne went public last week when the superclub launched a publicity drive to make its customers aware of the row.

Now Ministry is urging its supporters to sign a 'Save our club' petition and in just a of days more than 6,000 signatures have been collected.

The club insists that it supports the regeneration of Elephant & Castle: "No-one appreciates the influx of investment and people into the area more than we do," wrote Lohan Presencer last November.

Ministry isn't the only opponent of the Eileen House redevelopment: English Heritage has recommended that Southwark should refuse the planning application because of the tower's impact on protected views. Westminster City Council also says that the tower would "be intrusive and compromise unacceptably the view" from the Serpentine Bridge in Hyde Park.

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