It’s crunch time for Ministry of Sound - an iconic music institution, comprising the world-famous club and record label, and a massive promoter of music talent. It’s the biggest independent music company in the world. A huge range of stars have slammed the plans by a developer to build a skyscraper next door, that could kill the club, says CEO of Ministry of Sound Group Lohan Presencer.
We’ve got music industry luminaries supporting us, it’s fantastic and quite humbling. I’ve just had a message from Elton John, and people such as Calvin Harris, Pete Tong, Judge Jules and Norman Cook are all behind us.
Developers Oakmayne have been trying for four years to build a 41-storey tower block next to the club. Their application was rejected by the local Southwark Council, but Oakmayne went over their heads to the Mayor Boris Johnson. The decision rests with the Mayor, under a new law that means he can over-rule local wishes.
With a residential development, the residents’ rights come before those of any existing business, leaving the way open for the club to be closed down for example on the grounds of noise from visitors queueing. The club fears closure is inevitable and also says that this policy can affect any entertainment business. Lohan told us:
There is no doubt whatsoever that the proposed scheme makes it very likely we will be forced to close. This will be disastrous for London, both culturally and economically. It’s bizarre and it’s bad planning.
Not only do we invest in UK talent, but we are a tourist attraction, employer and cultural icon. Where’s the balance? We are the last super club left standing. Does London want more offices or to be a vibrant cultural capital?
Dance music star and No. 1 selling artist Example said:
For me Ministry of Sound is not only the most important club in the world but, as an institution, it has changed the lives of so many people.
The MOS team has also worked out that they contribute a fortune to the economy in taxes alone. Lohan said:
We have been here for nearly 22 years and we have 200 employees. We just calculated that we pay £9.5 million in taxes every year.
MOS are rallying music fans for a final push against the housing scheme.
We want to get as many people as possible to support us, and get the message to the mayor.
Of course we understand that the site needs redevelopment but this should not be to the detriment of a hugely successful business that is committed to the area, is a significant local employer and has put London at the centre of the global dance music scene.
We can co-exist, that’s how London works. It doesn’t have to be them or us, all we want is what any other business would want – the threat to our future taken away.
There’s an MOS video to spread the word, and links to the campaign below.
Ministry of Sound has set up a petition for supporters to sign and fans of the club can follow the campaign and contribute via twitter - using the hashtag #savemosclub to send support to @MinistryofSound. You can also contribute via the MOS facebook page.