‘Final piece of the jigsaw’: Block of student flats next to Arsenal’s stadium gets go-ahead from planners

A vision of the building. Image: CZWG and muf architecture/art

Student flats are to be built in a “scruffy” area described as the “final piece of the jigsaw” near Arsenal’s football stadium.

The 12-storey block on Hornsey Road will have accommodation for up to 183 students, including 28 accessible rooms.

It will also feature a gym, reading room, recreation room, and views of the Emirates Stadium.

The council’s planning officer Stefan Sanctuary wrote: “The proposed tower itself is considered to have been creatively and uniquely designed in a playful yet highly considered manner.”

The brownfield site is close to the St Mary Magdalene conservation area, but the council said this would not be affected.

A derelict building on Holloway Road will also be refurbished as part of the scheme and will be used by businesses. This “unique opportunity” will bring 21 rundown railway arches back into use, according to Islington’s planning department. They will be used for light industrial firms and one arch will be transformed into a public toilet.

Elizabeth Woodall from planning agent HGH Consulting said the plans would transform the “scruffy” area near the iconic footballing arena.

The council’s planning department said the scheme would not affect many residents and has “no adverse impact” on privacy.

However, it did find a 28 per cent impact on daylight at one building on Hornsey Road. Five bedrooms in the tower block do not meet the minimum requirements for daylight.

The Town Hall received 40 objections with concerns including “inappropriate design”, the height of the building, existing student accommodation in the area, and impact on the road network.

At 42 metres, the tower block is taller than the 37-metre cap recommended in the council’s local plan.

The Islington Tall Buildings Study said: “The building needs to find an appropriate response to the stadium, which remains the principal landmark in this location.”

It said it should be lower than the stadium and “needs to respond sensitively” to homes nearby.

Historic applications for 16- and 25-storey blocks were turned down by planners.

The council said there was a good balance of different buildings in the area and said it was “a well-considered design”. It added that many students would use public transport and the plan also includes a new path linking Holloway Road and Hornsey Road.

Cllr Jason Jackson (Labour, Holloway) wanted to know more about the plans for its use on match days and the developer pledged to work with the police to discuss this.

Cllr Tricia Clarke (Labour, Tufnell Park) questioned the 35 per cent of affordable student accommodation: “We would have got more affordable accommodation, or 50 per cent,  if it had been designated as industrial.”

She said the area has been used for work such as car repairs for a number of years.

The planning team said it fitted with policy rules and the allocation cannot be changed currently as it has been looked at several times as the local plan – currently with the inspector – was drawn up.

Designer Piers Gough said the building would be noticeable from some areas, including the Harvist estate.

He said: “The building is in the form of a grand palazzo fronting the extensive piazza and podium of the Emirates Stadium.”

Cllr Paul Convery (Labour, Caledonian) said the scheme was the “final piece of the jigsaw” in developing the area around Arsenal.

The scheme was approved by Islington’s planning committee this week.

Due to its height, the plan will be referred to the Mayor of London.