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Studios that recorded Lily Allen and Mark Ronson ‘destroyed’ by council planners

Tileyard say that without expansion into new development they could go bust

12 July, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Tileyard co-founder Nick Keyes 

OWNERS of a renowned music hub where the likes of Lily Allen and Mark Ronson have recorded have accused the council of “destroying” the area by blocking development plans.

Property developers and Islington Council were locked in a legal battle this week as a planning inspector considered whether a scheme to build six to eight-storey office and industrial blocks off York Way is legal.

Bosses at Tileyard, one of the world’s biggest collection of independent music studios and offices, have said that their business could be killed off if the plans are not given the green light.

Tileyard co-founder Nick Keyes said: “We’ve managed to build a place where young people from disadvantaged backgrounds can come and build a career in music. Islington Council seem intent on destroying our unique ecosystem and replacing us with meatpacking and polluting industries of the past. It’s a real kick in the teeth.”

The planning application for the York Way and Tileyard Road site was submitted in August last year by developers City & Provincial Properties and storage giants Big Yellow Self Storage. Tileyard was launched in 2011.

Artists impression of  the scheme off York Way 

It provides office space to the many elements of the music industry including recording studios, music agents and sound engineers.

Mr Keyes believes Tile- yard’s success is due to the “cluster” effect, where musicians are able to mix with other artists and producers and relationships then build.

Mr Keyes said they have now reached capacity and he has to regularly turn down requests from entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Tile- yard.

One of the last musicians to successfully make a bid for a studio space was Oasis superstar Noel Gallagher.

Mr Keyes added: “If we are not given the space to grow it will strangle our business model. The council don’t seem to get that.”

But the new development will not be owned by Tileyard and the council fear that the planning application could drive up office prices in a lucrative area – pushing out traditional industrial business- es like meat packing and car repairs.

The council say it has tried to negotiate with the developers to ensure that the office space cannot be flipped to make quick money on white-collar firms that will be attracted to the area with the development of the King’s Cross area yards away.

Google and Universal Studios have earmarked sites for their London headquarters in King’s Cross.

Mr Keyes, who started his career in the 90s boy-band Ultra, said: “We need a hybrid of space. Our music studios are B1a. But the council looks at it as a lawyer’s office. They have no imagination. It’s just a box to tick and then there is the ‘computer says no’ response if it doesn’t fit exactly with that box.”

Cabinet councillor Asima Shaikh said: “We have very little industrial space left in Islington, and in London more generally, so it’s vital that we protect the little we have for the many, diverse small businesses that need it, and this includes the makers, builders and artisans of the future.”

She added: “As with many decisions the council makes this planning decision is about finding a balance between competing priorities.

“In this case, our position is that the commercial interests of property developers to expand their storage and office space rental businesses do not outweigh the needs of other small businesses to access industrial space or the needs of nearby social housing residents for sunlight.”

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