Ministry of Sound Fighting for its LifeMarch 3, 2010 By: Bryan Bass
When a nightclub is responsible for turning around an entire neighborhood, why is it always the first to get heat when new residents move into that suddenly hip neighborhood? It’s something that has been witnessed from coast to coast, with New York City being the most relevant example. However, across the pond, one of the planet’s biggest nightclub names is attempting to stop the backlash before it happens to them.
“Ministry of Sound Nightclub Under Threat,” read one headline out of the UK, as club supporters rallied around the brand’s flagship London location. The nightclub appears to be in danger of losing its entertainment license after a developer (Oakmayne) submitted plans for a 369-unit apartment complex across the street from the venue. Ministry of Sound holds more than 200 event nights per year and has an estimated annual attendance of more than 300,000 people.
"When Oakmayne told us that 'nightclubs come and go', we were horrified,” said Ministry’s top executive Lohan Presencer in a statement released last week. “Ministry of Sound is not just any nightclub; it's the most famous nightclub in the world and the heart of a global entertainment business. These developers have cut corners at every stage and counter to their claims; they do not have the best interests of the local community at heart. We must do everything in our power to save our club and our business."
Ministry of Sound’s web site even has a petition to save the venue. You can sign it here www.ministryofsound.com/Petitions/PetitionForm.aspx
One local councilman was quick to join Ministry’s fight, telling the Southwark News: “The Ministry of Sound's big fear is understandably that new people will move in and complain about the noise from the club. My view is they have been here for 20 years and we are very proud to have them in the area." It’s a notion seconded by many longtime area residents.
Oakmayne did respond to Presencer’s statement. "Oakmayne confirm that they have worked extensively with the Ministry of Sound and Southwark officers to ensure that the scheme and the Ministry of Sound can coexist harmoniously." However, Chairman Christopher Allen tried to turn the tables on the club by adding: “Oakmayne have also agreed to spend nearly £400,000 to assist in further sound proofing the Ministry of Sound nightclub. Sadly for Southwark residents the Ministry of Sound will not withdraw their objections so that £20m of scheme benefits are now in jeopardy. "
We generally tend to side with the well-established nightclub owner rather than the big developer, but let’s see how it plays out.