May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Tara Brady, Senior reporter
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Singer-songwriter David Gray is planning to turn his Crouch End recording studios – which was once owned by the Eurythmics – into flats.
The Babylon singer bought The Church Studios in Crouch Hill, a converted chapel, from Eurythmics musician Dave Stewart in 2003 and over its history it has attracted a vast array of artists, including Bob Dylan, Radiohead and My Bloody Valentine.
But now multiplatinum-selling artist Gray, who lives in Hampstead, wants to turn the oak-panelled studios into five spacious flats with shops and office space.
Residents were shocked to learn of the plans, saying the building is part of Crouch End’s folklore.
Steve Watson, of Crouch Hill, said in a letter to Haringey Council opposing the plans: “The Church Studios have been a part of Crouch End’s artistic and creative heritage for decades.
“Many local musicians use and are based in the building.
“If the main part of the building is converted into flats, the studios that adjoin the building will likely have to cease operation or spend thousands on further soundproofing.
“This will have a significant effect on the vitality of the local arts scene and the character of the area.”
Sue Hessel, chairman of Haslemere Road Residents’ Association, said: “This is so sad. Crouch End has enough flats.
“Crouch End’s music heritage is what makes it such a special place to live. Turning such a culturally rich building into flats is not in the spirit of Crouch End.”
The church was built in 1855 and served as a place of worship for more than a century.
In 1984 it was bought by the Eurythmics and converted into world-class recording studios. Since then both control rooms have been refurbished.
But according to Gray’s architect, Mark Ruthven, the music industry has changed in the past decade and the studios are out of date.
He said: “It is completely obsolete, it doesn’t get used. This is a way of the building being used. The heritage is preserved.
“The important thing is to find a reuse and that it is done in a sensitive way.”
Mr Ruthven said the west side of the church, which faces onto Crouch Hill, would remain unchanged but the rear would be redeveloped.
A spokesman for David Gray said: “Having owned and enjoyed the church for nearly 10 years, it is time to move on.
“David would be delighted to sell The Church Studios but given the current upheaval in the music business and the repercussions on commercial recording studios, it is only prudent to explore other avenues, including redevelopment.”
Mr Gray is best known for hits including Babylon and Please Forgive Me from his 1999 album White Ladder.
A decision on whether to grant planning permission will be made at a later date.