Ministry of Sound face closure next month; launch petition to block nearby housing development

A campaign has been launched to save South London club Mininstry of Sound.

For several years now, the owners of Ministry have been opposed to a proposal to build a 41-storey block of flats next door – a development, they fear, will result in the club’s closure.

In October 2011, Ministry believed that it had won this battle after the housing scheme was rejected by planners, but the development has since been given a second chance, with a hearing on February 26.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, club owner James Palumbo claimed that “the bottom line is if they build that block of flats, we are going to close. If you’ve got a flat in the second floor in that building, you’d object to the noise”. The issue, it appears, is not Ministry’s music, but noise created by the queues, smoking areas and so forth outside.

Now, a new petition has been launched by the club. It reads thus:

In 2009 we became aware of plans to build a 41 storey residential tower block 10 metres from the front gate of Ministry of Sound. If this building went ahead and the new residents complained about noise from our club, there would be nothing we could do to stop them having us shut down.

We fought the application tooth and nail for two years – and finally, in October 2011, Southwark’s planning committee saw sense and rejected it unanimously.

However, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has called in the application to decide for himself whether it should be approved. We are currently waiting to find out the date of the hearing that will decide our fate from Boris – but it will be sometime in early 2013.

Ministry of Sound has become synonymous with dance music over the past two decades and has changed the shape of music. Our record label has now sold over 50 million albums and had countless number one singles. We stage over 2,000 live global events a year, millions listen to our radio station and visit our websites every month, and we employ over 200 people here at our offices, right next door to the club itself. Our brand is recognised by over 90% of people in the United Kingdom and its popularity extends around the globe. We have contributed tens of millions of pounds to the UK economy.

We are more important to London than one block of apartments, a building which incidentally contains no social housing and with flats which will fall out of the price reach of most ordinary Londoners. 

In a press release sent out today, Ministry chief executive Lohan Presencer expands on this, explaining that “there is no doubt whatsoever that the proposed scheme makes it very likely we will be forced to close.  This will be disastrous for London, both culturally and economically.

“Of course we understand that the site needs redevelopment but this should not be to the detriment of a hugely successful business that is committed to the area, is a significant local employer and has put London at the centre of the global dance music scene.

“We are very dissatisfied with the current plans for the development, which we know would encourage a raft of complaints from residents.

“We can co-exist, that’s how London works.  It doesn’t have to be them or us, all we want is what any other business would want – the threat to our future taken away.”

You can read more about – and sign – the campaign here. Founded in 1991, Ministry represents one of dance music’s most popular and iconic venues, with several record labels (Ministry of Sound, Data and Hed Kandi) under its belt.



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