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12 March: Boris names D-day for Newington Causeway tower

The Mayor of London has announced that he will hold a public hearing on Monday 12 March to make a final decision on Oakmayne's planning application to build a 41-storey tower on the Eileen House site in Newington Causeway at Elephant & Castle.

Eileen House by Allies and Morrison
The proposed development seen from the junction of Borough High Street, Newington Causeway, Borough Road and Harper Road

In October 2011 Southwark Council's planning committee voted to reject a planning application by Oakmayne for a 41-storey tower designed by Allies and Morrison to be built on the site of Eileen House on Newington Causeway.

Councillors were concerned about the impact of noise from the club and its customers on residents of the new homes, as well as the absence of any social rented housing in the scheme and a lack of amenity space. They also criticised the tower's design.

Six weeks later the Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced he was 'taking over' the planning application and would make the final decision himself.

This is only the fifth time that City Hall has intervened in a planning application in this way since new powers were granted to the Mayor in 2008. On all four previous occasions he has approved applications that had been refused at borough level.

Now the Mayor must hold a public representation hearing – at which those who have previously submitted formal comments on the scheme are eligible to speak – before announcing his final decision.

Opposition to the tower on the Eileen House site has been led by the Ministry of Sound which claims its nightclub would be forced out of business if new homes were built in such close proximity to the busy venue which has a 24-hour licence.

The club has stepped up its campaign to persuade the Mayor to uphold Southwark's decision to veto the tower.

Hundreds of people have tweeted their views to the Mayor using the #savemosclub hashtag.

Ministry of Sound's chief executive Lohan Presencer has written to Mr Johnson to set out the club's case.

"If the development goes ahead it will force Ministry of Sound to close," he told the Mayor.

"After 20 years of putting London on the map as the global dance capital, residents of the flats will be able to complain about the noise leading to the loss of Ministry's licence and, ultimately, the closure of the club.

"There is no protection in law for a music venue if residents 'come to a nuisance' and complain. These types of closures have happened on numerous occasions before and will happen here."

Mr Presencer has invited the Mayor to visit the club on condition that he does so between midnight and 2am so he can hear the noise at its peak.

However, it is unlikely that the Mayor will take up the invitation as he will make a formal site visit before the public hearing.

Developers Oakmayne insist that the club and the new homes can coexist perfectly well and that Mr Presencer's claims are unfounded.

Christopher Allen, chairman of Oakmayne, argues that the homes "will be priced for ordinary Londoners" and the development will contribute to the overall regeneration of Elephant & Castle.

• The public hearing will be held in the chamber at City Hall from 6pm on Monday 12 March.

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