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BuckleyGrayYeoman’s redesigned Clerkenwell distillery approved

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Islington Council has approved revised plans from BuckleyGrayYeoman to transform a former printworks and gin distillery into a creative office hub

The local authority’s planning committee granted consent to the proposals for 132-140 Goswell Road in Clerkenwell, north London.

Permission was refused last November for an earlier version of the scheme, with loss of light to nearby homes cited as one of the reasons.

Since then the Shoreditch practice has removed one storey on Pear Tree Street, altered the massing profile of the building, placed a sunken courtyard at the rear and retained a frontage on Goswell Road among other changes. 

Despite this, the new application prompted 38 objections, including complaints of light reduction, overlooking and ‘inappropriate’ scale.

However, the council’s conservation officer said the design provided ‘an acceptable and interesting response to its context and to the constraints of the site’. Islington’s design review panel said it was ‘generally welcoming of the changes’.

Planning officers concluded that the sunlight and daylight losses to properties had been limited and that these had to be weighed against benefits to the townscape and other positives.

Collage old new bgy laser house

How the scheme has evolved: original refused application (left); reworked approved design (right)

How the scheme has evolved: original refused application (left); reworked approved design (right)

‘The harm to these properties is on balance accepted,’ they said in a report to councillors. ‘Further, the proposed development would not cause demonstrable harm to the amenities of any neighbouring occupiers in terms of sense of enclosure or privacy.’

The scheme, for developers General Projects and Northern & Midland Holdings, will see the existing 1960s building converted into 8,146m2 of office floorspace and 671m2 of flexible retail or office facilities.

BuckleyGrayYeoman said it would provide modern workspace for more than 850 people as well as shops and street frontages along Pear Tree Street and Goswell Road.

‘A striking intervention will be built on an area of land between the two existing buildings, providing a new main entrance with a flexible space for exhibitions and events,’ it added.

Practice director Matt Yeoman said the scheme would lead to a ‘fantastic reinvention of the former printing press and brewery’.

‘As well as creating a prominent focal point to a corner that had until 1960 been occupied by a public house, the building will demonstrate an exciting new design for creative office space in the heart of Clerkenwell.’

The existing blocks will each be extended by one floor, leading to a five-storey block on Goswell Road and a four-level structure on Pear Tree Street.

Loading bays fronting Pear Tree Street will be converted into modern office space with full-height glazed shopfronts.

BuckleyGrayYeoman 132-140 Goswell Road - Pear Tree Street view

BuckleyGrayYeoman 132-140 Goswell Road - Pear Tree Street view

BuckleyGrayYeoman 132-140 Goswell Road - Pear Tree Street view

General Projects chief executive Jacob Loftus said: ‘Our ambition for 132 Goswell Road has always been to push the boundaries and create something special.

‘The striking new architectural infill building will hopefully become a new local gem that will not only house the buildings new entrance, but events and exhibitions too. Elsewhere the existing building will be reinvented and extended to create cutting-edge workspaces for the creative industries.’ 

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