Popstar George Michael joins stars in campaign to save AIR studios

PUBLISHED: 10:34 14 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:34 14 January 2016

George Michael has co-signed the letter

George Michael has co-signed the letter

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Highgate pop star George Michael has added his voice to a protest against a basement development that could force Hampstead’s AIR studios to close

The reclusive singer is one of a group of celebrities who have written a letter opposing plans from neighbours of the studio, in Rosslyn Hill, to build a basement leisure complex under their home.

As reported in the Ham&High more than 10,000 people have signed a petition against the proposals, from Andrew and Elizabeth Jeffreys, to build a swimming pool, gym, sauna and cinema under their Georgian house next to the world famous studios.

Studio bosses fear the noise and vibrations from the excavations means they will be forced to close for up to six months.

Other signatories of the letter include Belsize Park director Tim Burton, actress Joanna Lumley and Beatles producer and studio founder George Martin.

They write that the planning application “threatens the very existence of a jewel in europe’s music industry.”

The letter, published in the Daily Telegraph, warns the development “will bring risks to the Grade II listed building, and will critically affect Air’s need for silence, the prerequisite for such specialised recording”.

It says Camden Council has been slow to reach a verdict on the project, increasing the uncertainty hanging over the studios.

“Camden’s tardiness in rejecting these applications creates uncertainties for AIR’s substantial timetable of bookings, contracts and the livelihoods of thousands, once lost will never be recovered. Overdue changes to planning rules must be made to protect businesses as well as homes plagues by selfish aggrandisment of basement extensions.”

With its unrivalled acoustics, AIR Studios, based in the Grade II listed former church and missionary school Lyndhurst Hall, is one of only two recording studios in the UK to provide score recording services to the major film industry.

Architect Thomas Croft, on behalf of Mr and Mrs Jeffreys, said: “We understand and have taken on board the comments made by AIR Studios and are actively working to see how we can address them. We are committed to working closely with all our neighbours throughout the planning process.”

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