Punk guitarist in bin dispute over plans for Holloway Road office block

Viv Albertine. Photograph: Flickr.

Guitarist, singer-songwriter and memoirist Viv Albertine has condemned as ‘unacceptable’ plans to extend an office block bordering home and those of her neighbours.

Albertine, former guitarist with punk group the Slits, slammed plans to add two storeys to Paul Anthony House, a Holloway Road office block which also backs onto her own Fairbridge Road, as “ill-conceived.”

The plans attracted sixteen objections from residents of Fairbridge Road, which won an award for best play street in 2015.

Neighbours had written to Islington planning concerned about the potential impact of Paul Anthony’s bin store, as well as complaints over loss of privacy, daylight and sunlight, and noise and disruption from construction of the site

Albertine said: “I’m speaking on behalf of a number of concerned owner-occupiers on Fairbridge Road and Holloway Road.

“We vehemently oppose access to bins for a five-storey commercial building being placed in the middle of our street. The character of this end of the road have completely changed.

“Paul Anthony House are proposing storing bins for five storeys of offices beneath a young couple’s kitchen and bedrooms. They saved up for a deposit on their first home and are going to find themselves living with their bedroom and kitchens over a stinking, noisy bin store. It’s totally unacceptable.

“For a five-storey building, it is disingenuous to state there will be minimal deliveries. There will be deliveries all day in the middle of a residential street, compromising the safety and health of residents.

“Fairbridge Road has been vastly improved by traffic calming measures and transformed by its residents into an award-winning family friendly street. It must not become a dangerous, noisy, dirty hotspot.”

It is understood that Paul Anthony House’s plans to use Fairbridge Road for its access came about after TfL blocked any access from the Holloway Road side due to a nearby bus stop.

A representative for Paul Anthony House said: “I can understand the concerns there. TfL strongly objected to continued refuse collection and servicing from Holloway Road.

“It’s a red route, and there’s a bus stop immediately outside our site. It’s not ideal, but it does exist.

“We have agreed to move any servicing to take place on Fairbridge Road.”

Albertine and her fellow objectors’ arguments successfully persuaded councillors to defer the plans in order to see if any alternative arrangements could be made in consultation with TfL.

Cllr Paul Convery (Lab, Caledonian) said: “Servicing and deliveries is one thing, but bin store and collection of refuse is a separate thing.

“I think TfL needs to flexible in accepting that servicing and refuse collection does occur on most commercial buildings on Holloway Road.”

Committee chair Cllr Martin Klute (Lab, St Peter’s) added: “Hopefully [the deferment] will clarify things and the necessary adjustments can be made to the scheme.”