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Photo studio celebrates halting of developer’s demolition plans

High Court ruling blocks luxury apartments scheme at former iron foundry that’s regularly visited by Kate Moss and David Bailey

17 November, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Holborn Studios, on the banks of the Regent’s Canal

THE owners of Europe’s largest photographic studio are celebrating after the High Court ruling halted a developer’s plans to convert the site into luxury apartments.

Holborn Studios, situated in a former iron foundry on the banks of the Regent’s Canal, has been under threat after developer Galliard Homes submitted plans to demolish the buildings and build 50 private apartments two years ago.

The owners of the studios in Eagle Wharf Road brought a judicial review over the way planners in neighbouring Hackney Council approved the developer’s plans without what they argued was proper consultation – and this week a judge ruled in their favour.

“I’m happy but I don’t want to become complacent,” said Billy McCartney, owner of Holborn Studios, which leases the site from Galliard Homes.

In his written verdict, John Howell QC wrote he would not rule on whether the plans should have been approved by the planning sub-committee but said “the procedure followed in the circumstances was so unfair as to be unlawful”.

Mike and Billy McCartney at Holborn Studios

Fashion model Kate Moss is a regular at the studios, which overlooks Angel’s Packington estate, while photographer David Bailey uses the space.

The staff offer up the space alongside their expertise to art college students to help train the next generation of photographers. Mr McCartney’s parents started the studios in the 1970s and it moved to its current premises in 1990.

Hackney Council will now foot the £35,000 legal fees for Holborn Studios.

“They shouldn’t be paying people’s council tax money on stuff like this when it was very clear they were going to lose that case,” said Mr McCartney.

Del Brenner of The Regent’s Network, who was in court alongside Mr McCartney, said: “It’s a great result for the canal. So much of the canal is become housing, taking away a lot character and open space.”

A fresh planning application was submitted by Galliard Homes last month to Hackney Council which still seeks to demolish most of the current building and is currently out for consultation.

A spokeswoman for Hackney Council said: “The planning application for the redevelopment of Holborn Studios was given a resolution for approval at planning committee as it satisfied all policies in the Council’s Development Plan. The judicial review was upheld on procedural grounds and we accept the ruling.”


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