Property developer’s ‘Dear Neighbour’ introduction letter met with firm opposition from residents


Old Sessions House, Clerkenwell Green

Dear Neighbour: Old Sessions House, Clerkenwell Green. Photograph: Wikimedia Commons.

A “Dear Neighbour” letter hoping to introduce a property developer to residents of Clerkenwell has attracted an extensive rebuttal from residents of Clerkenwell Green.

The 2 May letter, appearing as part of a licensing application from hospitality developer Ennismore International Management Ltd, reads: “We would like to introduce ourselves as your new neighbour ahead of our office move to Old Sessions House on Clerkenwell Green next year.

“We are incredibly happy that we are becoming part of the Clerkenwell Green community. We hope to give Old Sessions House a new lease of life, whilst respecting the building’s incredible history and heritage listing.”

Ennismore, who describe themselves on their website as “Part Developer, Part Operator, Part Creative Studio,” intend to use the top floors of the Grade II-listed former courthouse and Masonic lodge as their head office.

The company are applying for an alcohol licence for the former dungeons of the ground floor, which they hope to operate as “office refreshment areas, as well as meeting rooms and break out areas.”

However, the application has seen 32 letters of representation in opposition to this application, from 33 local residents and The Friends of Clerkenwell Green Residents Association.

An extensive six-page rebuttal to Ennismore’s ambitions from one Clerkenwell resident reads: “I object to this application as a local resident and as a member of the Friends of Clerkenwell Green. Acting as a community, we discussed our concerns and register this objection.

“This is not your normal licence application. This matter has already been decided several times via seven previous applications for this site.

“Each time applications have failed for extensive [serving] hours over seven days a week, for an unknown, but obviously very large capacity at this premises.

“Most of the key reasons Committees decided against the previous applications are still valid issues with Ennismore’s current application, with close proximity to residents including vulnerable populations, inevitable disturbance from increased capacity, a risk of anti-social behaviour and other alcohol-related disturbances given the sheer scale of total daily capacity, and the potential impact of such a large volume of additional people arriving in the area.”

Islington Council’s licensing sub-committee shall rule on the application on 30 August.