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Koko scores a win in battle against residential development plans

By | Published on Thursday 10 September 2015


Given growing concerns in the grassroots live sector over long-standing venues being forced out of business by noise abatement orders instigated by new neighbours, who ironically arrive because a district’s creative businesses make a once run-down area more attractive again, promoters and venue owners will welcome a High Court ruling that has overturned planning permission for a new residential development adjacent to Camden venue Koko.

Camden Council gave permission back in January to the owner of the Hope & Anchor pub to extend the property and convert it into a retail unit on ground level and eight flats up above. But Koko owner Obar Camden Ltd took the matter to court, arguing that the proposed development was at odds with the neighbourhood, and would likely result in complaints about noise from both its building and other nearby venues, which in turn could threaten their businesses.

According to Ham & High, after hearing Obar’s arguments judge Stephen Stewart ruled that Camden councillors had been “significantly misled” by the local authority’s planning officers in that they had not been properly alerted to the impact the development could have on Koko. He noted that one planning officer had considered this matter and decided there would be no harm to local venues, but, the judge said, this process had been “truncated” and councillors had not been properly briefed on the matter.

The court ruling means the council will now have to reconsider proposals for the Hope & Anchor site.