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Permission granted to turn Crouch End's iconic Church Studios into flats

PUBLISHED: 11:01 12 October 2012

Church Studios in Crouch Hill could be turned into luxury flats.

Church Studios in Crouch Hill could be turned into luxury flats.

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Pleas to prevent David Gray's iconic Crouch End recording studio being turned into luxury flats have fallen on deaf ears.

Planning permission has been granted for five spacious flats, with shops and offices below, to be built at the historic Church Studios, which has captured the voices of artists including Bob Dylan, Annie Lennox and even X Factor winner Matt Cardle.

Despite more than 500 names on a petition calling for the former chapel to remain as a studio, and concerns over how neighbours were informed, Haringey’s planning sub-committee waved through the plans for the global superstar’s Crouch Hill property on Monday evening.

The oak-panelled rooms have operated as a studio for almost 30 years, and belonged to Eurhythmics’ frontman Dave Stewart until 2004.

Writing on his website, the star known for hits including Babylon and Please Forgive Me, said the “expense” of running the studio had “become too much of a burden”, and that despite upgrading the equipment it was “still a country mile from breaking even”.

Mr Gray said the planning application was part of considering “all options” and that he wouldn’t be making any decisions until next year.

Planning was only granted subject to the flats being adequately sound-proofed from neighbouring recording studios.

Some internal and external features will also be kept and any new development on the site will be named to reflect its musical heritage.

But it is still a bitter blow for those hoping to retain the 1855 church as a music venue.They have been heavily critical of how Haringey Council has handled the planning process.

Sue Hessel, chairman of Haslemere Road Residents’ Association, said: “The council said statutory notices had been put up, but I never saw a statutory notice. Nobody knew until fairly late in August – and that was thanks to the press, otherwise we would not have known about it.

“It was quite clearly something of public concern. The story went world-wide in a couple of days. It is so important to the heritage of Crouch End.”

But a council spokeswoman said: “Statutory planning consultation letters intended to make people aware of the proposed development and seeking comments were sent to all ward councillors, Hornsey Conservation Area Advisory Committee and 200 local residents and businesses.

“The application was also advertised by way of a Conservation Area Site Notice which was put up in front of the site in the week commencing 14 May and a press advert in the local press on Friday, May 18.”

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