IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Plans unveiled for Nags Head workspaces previously earmarked for homes

It comes at a time of change on Holloway Road

06 July, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

An artist’s impression of the redeveloped space. Credit: ph+ (Puncher Hamilton) 

EMPTY Victorian industrial buildings previously earmarked for new homes in Holloway Road are set to be redeveloped into affordable workspaces.

Plans approved four years ago would have seen part of The Billiard Factory, near the Odeon cinema, become 80 new homes, expanded the National Youth Theatre’s rehearsal rooms and created commercial floor- space.

However, that permission has now lapsed and last year the site was bought by property investor Fabrix, which wants to give the buildings a “new lease of life” as workspaces for up to 200 people.

The mews courtyard would be converted with plans to host pop-up events and open a café.

The proposals come at a time of change at the Nag’s Head.

Marks & Spencer plans to shut its Holloway Road store next year, while the Odeon cinema chain has submitted proposals for a huge revamp of its grade II-listed venue.

Alexander Kim, asset manager at Fabrix, told the Tribune: “The buildings we look to invest in are in fringe locations and we look for things that do need a bit of love, basically to turn them around and give them a new lease of life as cost-effective workspaces that are still design-led, thought out and interesting, not just cheap and nasty. They should be cheap and nice.”

Artist’s view of the new-look mews. Credit: ph+ (Puncher Hamilton)

Mr Kim said rents would probably be £30 to £40 per square foot a year, compared to about £50 in Angel and £60 to £70 in Clerkenwell.

“We have local businesses from all around us who, rather than trekking all the way into the mid- dle of town, can find something good in their community already,” he said.

The 2014 application would have included an expansion of the National Youth Theatre, which has had rehearsal space next door to the buildings since 1987.

Mr Kim said this was not included in the new proposal, but was a possibility for the future.

Two public consultations were held in April. Mr Kim said: “Given that our proposals were for two floors of additional space on one building, I think people came away quite relieved that what we were proposing was meaningful.”

Andrew Clayton, from the Islington Society, said: “My view is that this is no bad thing, particularly at a time when Holloway Road had bad news about M&S. Having more people working there helps the footfall and things in general.”

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