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Multi-arts community centre set to move

28 April, 2017 — By Jane Clinton

An artist’s impression of the new flats and arts centre building

PLANS to move a community arts centre into a new building are set to go ahead despite concerns that the new venue will not offer the same facilities and will price out arts groups.

The City of London Corporation submitted plans for the Islington Arts Factory (IAF) in Camden Road, Holloway, to move from its existing home close to a collection of church buildings.

The buildings are to be con­verted into seven luxury flats. The now-listed verger’s cottage on the site will be maintained “in full”.

At a planning committee meeting last night (Thursday) the application, submitted by the corporation, to redeploy the IAF and add residential units was met with six objections, one letter of support and a supporting statement from Islington Arts Factory.

In the statement the IAF said: “Studio Partington Architects have worked with us to create the internal layout of the building which can now accommodate almost all of the existing community activities for which we are responsible.”

It was recommended that planning permission be granted. But Angela Slocumbe, project coordinator of Glorious Backstage Arts, a carnival arts organisation based at IAF, said that fitting out the building to replicate the current facilities could prove prohibitively costly.

“It is very expensive to have sprung floors [for dance] and I worry that there just will not be the money to replicate what we have now,” said Ms Slocumbe.

At present the IAF includes dance studios, music rooms, artspace and a gallery. It is the only multi-arts community centre in Islington and offers more than 50 educational courses in art and music for children and adults.

Ms Slocumbe is also concerned that the new facility will price out local groups and could see them moving from the facility and the borough.

Currently set away from residential areas, the new IAF will be housed in a building with residents living above.

This, adds Ms Slocumbe, will inevitably cause some noise disturbance.

“Even with soundproofing if windows are opened, then the noise will carry,” she said.

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