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London venue wins court battle

Koko overturns plans to have pub next door turned into flats

The owners of London venue Koko have won a court battle to prevent the pub next door from being turned into flats.

The Camden venue appealed to the High Court after plans were approved in January to turn the Hope & Anchor into eight homes, along with a three-storey extension and retail units on the ground floor.

Obar Camden Ltd feared that new residents might complain about noise coming from the club – a situation that's led to the threat of closure over many live venues in recent years.

The Music Venues Trust this week upped the ante on aggressive noise abatement rules which mean that just one complaint can lead to closure, arguing that four out of 10 venues in the UK have been shut down since 2007 – many as a result of those rules.

Judge Stephen Stewart ruled that local councillors had been “significantly misled” by planning officers, because they weren‘t alerted to the impact the development might have had on Kokoo.

Earlier this year, London Mayor Boris Johnson expressed his concern that venues across the city were being forced to close.

He said: “They're of huge economic importance, not just cultural importance, to our city. That's why it's so worrying that we're seeing the pressure from property prices, from development, take away so many of those live venues across town.”

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