Residents of Fish Island in Bow, Tower Hamlets are in shock after plans for a £2million nightclub on the island were given the go ahead last week by the London Thames Gateway Corporation.
The nightclub, proposed by Surrey Vale LLP, will be open until 2am every night for two months during the Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer and has a maximum capacity of 3,750 people, making it one of London’s biggest clubs. Due to the poor access available for public and private transport to the island, people will access the club via water taxis.
The nightclub will be situated at Swan Wharf, Dace Road, a brick stable block and warehouse. It stands directly on the River Lea, opposite the Olympic stadium and just 10 metres from the Ironworks development, which houses around 200 residents.
Speaking to EastLondonLines, Michelle Gabriel, Chair of the Association of Ironworks Residents (AIR), said: “We are very angry planning permission has been granted. We are not opposed to the Olympics but this is something completely different. We did object formally to the planning application in great detail and attended the planning meeting last week. We were given five minutes to speak at the meeting. LTGC ignored some of the recommendations by Tower Hamlets council, such as finishing at 11pm and the issue of public transport surrounding the venue. We also suggested that the venue close for the two weeks between the Olympics and the Paralympic Games.
“We’re really frustrated that these recommendations were not considered. We’re frustrated that the process seems wrong – issues were raised and not voted on.”
Gabriel also rejected claims that the nightclub would help the island’s regeneration, saying: “It’s really difficult to see how this will help regeneration as it’s a temporary venue for two months. It will create jobs, but those won’t necessarily go to local people. The affect on local people is going to be devastatingly bad.
“It would take at least an hour for people to leave the venue at night by water taxi, then deliveries would start again at 7am, leaving four hours for residents to get sleep.”
Tower Hamlets Labour councillor Marc Francis, who spoke on behalf of AIR at last week’s planning meeting, told the East London Advertiser: “It’s not over yet, they still need the council to approve late licensing hours and I’ll be opposing it. I think an 11pm finish at least on weekdays would be more acceptable.”
Surrey Vale say the club is only financially viable if it stays open for the full two months but they have no intention of keeping the club open after that period. As part of the proposal they say they will restore all buildings to their original state at the end of their occupation and have analysed all affects the club would have on the local area including noise, increased transport and visitors to the area.
Simon Marks, associate planner at surveyors Montagu Evans, representing the site owners Surrey Vale, said: “We’ve reduced the original opening from 4am to 2am which ties in with events at the Olympics which also go on until then. There will be lots of people in the area already with the Olympics and it’s an industrial area where deliveries are already taking place.”
Looking forward, Gabriel added: “We are looking at ways of contesting the decision. We feel our wellbeing is being sacrificed for their profit. It felt as if it had been decided before the meeting.”