Stars’ stu­dio safe as ice­berg base­ment plan with­drawn

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Steve Bird

A RECORD­ING stu­dio where lead­ing sym­phony or­ches­tras, Sir Paul Mccart­ney, U2 and Liam Gal­lagher have per­formed has won a le­gal bat­tle to stop a neigh­bour dig­ging a vast “ice­berg” base­ment.

Air Stu­dios in north Lon­don feared that it would be forced to close be­cause the noise and vi­bra­tions from months of con­struc­tion work would shat­ter the si­lence es­sen­tial for record­ing.

Brian May, Joanna Lum­ley, com­poser Hans Zim­mer, Tim Bur­ton, the film di­rec­tor, and the late Ge­orge Michael were among sig­na­to­ries of a let­ter to The Daily Tele­graph last year warn­ing that the fu­ture of “a jewel in Europe’s mu­sic in­dus­try” would be at stake if the base­ment went ahead.

They high­lighted con­cerns that valu­able con­tracts for Hollywood film record­ings could be taken abroad, threat­en­ing the liveli­hoods of Bri­tish mu­si­cians.

Air Stu­dios is one of just two Lon­don stu­dios that can ac­com­mo­date a full sym­phony orches­tra, which is of­ten re­quired by film-score com­posers.

An­drew and El­iz­a­beth Jef­freys, who live in a £10 mil­lion Geor­gian home next to the stu­dio, yes­ter­day with­drew their plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions and an ap­peal for a sub­ter­ranean swim­ming pool, sauna, hot tub and mini-cin­ema.

It fol­lowed a bit­ter and pro­tracted plan­ning process that was due to reach a cli­max with a four-day public plan­ning in­spec­torate in­quiry next year.

More than 13,000 peo­ple had signed an on­line pe­ti­tion and 800 peo­ple wrote to the coun­cil to op­pose the ap­pli­ca­tion, over fears for the fu­ture of the stu­dio founded by Sir Ge­orge Mar­tin, the record pro­ducer of­ten re­ferred to as “the fifth Bea­tle”.

Paul Woolf, the owner and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Air Stu­dios, said the cou­ple’s de­ci­sion to back down was a vic­tory for the Bri­tish mu­sic in­dus­try, the stu­dio it­self and thou­sands of mu­si­cians, celebri­ties and mem­bers of the public who had backed their cam­paign.

“It’s been ab­so­lutely mag­nif­i­cent that peo­ple from the film and mu­sic in­dus­try, gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, our staff and lo­cal peo­ple have sup­ported us so re­lent­lessly.

“Their back­ing is a tes­ta­ment to what Air Stu­dios stands for. We are very grate­ful for that.”

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