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Air Studios wins two-year ‘battle for survival’ after appeal over basement next door withdrawn

PUBLISHED: 10:41 13 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:04 13 October 2017

Paul Woolf outside Air Studios NW3. Picture by Polly Hancock

Paul Woolf outside Air Studios NW3. Picture by Polly Hancock

Archant

Hampstead’s world-famous Air recording studios has won its two-year legal battle against plans to dig a basement next door.

Inside Air studios one of the only British recording studio to hold a full orchestra Picture: Dan Pinder.Inside Air studios one of the only British recording studio to hold a full orchestra Picture: Dan Pinder.

As reported in the Ham&High, the studio, in Rosslyn Hill, has been fighting the proposals from Andrew and Elizabeth Jeffreys to build a basement at their home in Rosslyn Hill for two years.

Air Studios owner Paul Woolf believed the noise and vibrations from the basement excavation would force the studios to close for up to six months and threaten its survival.

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

Over 13.000 people had signed a petition against the Jeffrey’s application and leading lights of the music and film worlds, including popstar George Michael, the head of the British Film Commission Adrian Wootton, Oscar-winning film composer Hans Zimmer, and Queen guitarist Brian May added their voices to the protest.

The Jeffreys had initially planned to build two basements for a home cinema room, gym and swimming pool.

The plans were changed earlier this year to remove one basement from the proposals. However Air Studios still contested that it would have an effect on their ability to record music.

A public planning inquiry was due to begin in May 2018 to make a final decision on the plans.

Expert witnesses were due to have been called to give their opinion on the effect excavation work would have on recordings.

The planning inspectorate website today announced that the Jeffreys appeal has been withdrawn.

A statement by the Jeffreys family architects Thomas Croft, said: “The family has decided to withdraw the application to extend their family home in light of the decision to move the process to a full public inquiry.”

“The family has every intention of remaining in their home for many years to come.”

Mr Woolf said he regretted the whole affair, but was delighted that the battle was now over.

He said: “After a two year slog right has finally triumphed. We are absolutely delighted to have won this wasteful planning process and to have removed the risk to so many people, had Air been forced to shut.

“We are forever grateful to the thousands who supported us and to our staff and clients who showed immense resolve in uncertain waters.

“We are thrilled that Air can now continue its work as an integral part of the global film and music businesses.”

He added that fighting the application had come at some cost to the studios, which they were looking to recoup.

“We’ve been forced to invest the better part of £200,000 on lawyers and experts,” he said.

The Jeffreys family has been contacted for comment.

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