MPA were contacted by local residents and by the local publican at the Betsy Trotwood (one of our members). The former Guardian offices had been bought by an off-shore company, which appeared to have links to a middle Eastern family of property developers. They proposed to demolish the existing building and erect a new more modern office block, and in the process uproot some of the mature plane trees in front of the building which were subject to tree preservation orders. Local people were upset about the trees and problems with the proposed goods access, and there were planning issues concerning lack of housing provision and disturbance from the proposed ground floor retail element. MPA represented local interests together with local residents.
The proposal was granted permission by Islington Council, and we lost out on the protected trees and the housing element, to general disgust. The problems with goods access was also left unresolved.
However we did manage to persuade the developers to include local workshop and “start-up” spaces at basement level, at a peppercorn rent for 20 years – which no doubt the developers felt was a cheap price to pay for getting their planning permission. Not a resounding success, really, but we did manage a small local gain with the workshop provision.