‘Unique’ former stables to be turned into workspace for creatives – and the internal horse ramp will stay

Garrett Street

A historic former stables will be transformed into workspace for creatives who could be inspired by its unusual horse ramp.

The applicants, Garrett Street Estates Limited, described the scheme to transform the Grade II-listed stables as a “passion project”.

It was built in 1897 to house 100 shire horses for Whitebread Brewery and many of its original features, including the internal ramp, are still there.

A blacksmith’s workshop was removed and the building in Garrett Street was later used as a shooting gallery and a Travis Perkins builders’ merchants.

The developers plan to refurbish the building for light industrial use and a cafe, and build a four-storey extension at the back and a roof extension.

They also asked to move 1,000 square metres of affordable workspace from the nearby Finsbury Tower, known as the Hylo building, and add an extra 191 square metres of workspace at a peppercorn rent at the stables.

Islington’s planning committee had already approved the affordable workspace at the Hylo building.

The developers said they needed to move the provision to the stables to make the scheme viable. They said it would only happen after the Garrett Street renovation and they would create workspace at a commercial rent at the Hylo building instead.

One objector, Nick Levy, raised concerns about the extension “which seems rather a brutal structure, out of character and aesthetics of the site.”

Jack Allenby from planning consultants DLBP outlined concerns of some Garrett Street residents. They included the impact on residents and concerns about noise from the cafe and traffic.

Mr Allenby said a glazed extension at roof level would be separated from properties by as little as six metres.

A council report said “it was not sufficiently adverse” to mean the plans should be rejected.

There would be conditions to limit the cafe opening hours.

Residents were also concerned about the ecological impact but the applicant said planting work to the roof would enhance it.

The applicant said: “It’s an opportunity to deliver something unique and give back to the local community.”

Cllr Benali Hamdache (Highbury, Green) wanted to know more about the plan to move the affordable workspace from the Hylo building.

The applicant said they had been talking to the council’s inclusive economy team for some time and it was a “better solution for their needs” aimed at creative industries.

Jason Jackson (Holloway, Labour) was keen to see more opportunities for apprentices at the scheme.

Cllr Bashir Ibrahim (Arsenal, Labour) said he wanted to ensure the historical story of the building was preserved.

The scheme was approved by the planning committee this week.