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Agenda item

National Youth Theatre , 443-445 Holloway Road, N7 6LW


Single storey entrance and studio pavilion with associated landscaping. Additional window to south elevation and automatic opening vents (AOVs) to windows to comply with fire regulations.


(Planning application number: P2019/2469/FUL)


In the discussion the following points were made:

·       The Planning officer provided a number of updates. That a 18 month period has been agreed to demolish the front extension if the scheme is discontinued or the public benefits is not realised. Also there is ongoing discussions between NYT and the Director of Employment, Skills and Culture to prioritise Islington residents in securing NYT programmes.

·       The Planning Officer highlighted the revisions to the proposed extension which included two flat roofed adjoining and connecting blocks; reception block projecting 11.5m beyond the front building line with a width of 54m and a height of 4.9m providing an internal floor area of 48sqm. In addition the adjoining and connecting ‘studio’ block would project 101m beyond the front building with a width of 91m and a height of 4.2m providing an internal floor area of 80sqm- the combined front extension which would be viewed as two adjoining masses would have a width of 146m and an internal floor area of 128sqm.

·       The Planning Officer highlighted the comments from the London Review Panel, which welcomed the revised designs to the scheme and in particular the improvement to the glazing to the north elevation.

·       The meeting was informed that site is locally listed at Grade B and lies within the Mercers Road/Tavistock Terrace Conservation Area and approximately 50m to the north west of the Grade II listed Odeon Cinema at the junction of Holloway Road and Tufnell Park Road.

·       The Planning Officer informed members that the proposal seeks to enhance the level of accessibility to the building through the provision of a level entrance pavilion and studio. In addition internal upgrades including the installation of a platform lift to gain access to the primary ground floor level

·       Members were advised that were members minded to grant planning permission, this will be subject to planning obligations which secures the NYT public benefits and also ensures the demolition of the front extension in the event that the NYT benefits secured by planning obligations ceases to be provided.

·       The Planning Officer advised that applicant had been submitted alternative  options to the proposed erection of a front extension during the design development stage and officers were satisfied that the applicant’s assertion that the erection of an extension upon the front forecourt was the only viable option for the expansion of the building.

·       With regard to design, planning officer acknowledged that the proposed front pavilion would project beyond the established predominant building line along the section of Holloway Road and visible in public sight lines. In addition, the Planning Officer highlighted concerns with the bulk and scale of the proposed front extension which would conceal the entirety of the existing ground floor façade by matching the height of the raised ground floor level and the harm the scheme would cause to the Mercer’s Road/Tavistock Terrace Conservation

·       The Planning Officer advised that although the site is within the root protection area of 2no. protected street trees, no objections has been received by the Council’s Tree Officer, as information provided shows that root growth is limited into the development area, however a condition securing tree protection was requested if planning permission is to be granted.

·       The agent noted that the proposal complies with Council Policy DMS.12 in that it would allow the D1 facility to be enlarged so as to maximise the use of the property in providing recreational and community uses, and complement the existing use. In addition the scheme would enhance the overall character of the area without any adverse impact on the surrounding area with the building still being retained for art/cultural uses at the present site which was to be welcomed.

·       In response to options considered, the architect informed the meeting that following a full analysis of the various options highlighted on page 226 of the report, the erection of an extension upon the front forecourt of the building was the most viable method to expand the building.

·       On concerns about the impact of the extension, the architect informed the meeting that as a landmark building, NYT currently lacks an adequate public presence within the street scene and will be improved as a result of the extension.

·       With regards to concerns about the overall height and depth of the extension, Members were advised that applicant had submitted a revised scheme with reduced height and although officers still had concerns with the overall bulk of the proposed extension it is recognised that the site is constrained; accessibility is inadequate; the building is at capacity and the NYT programme has very little room for expansion at the current location.

·       Members were informed that as a charity, National Youth Theatre having occupied the building since 1987, earning and raising all its income annually with only 9% of the income coming from public subsidy, this proposal would enable it to remain at its present location. Members were reminded that the building requires a lot of works to be carried out, it’s commitment to continue providing arts and culture to the community and having just signed a 999 year lease and taken on a mortgage, the proposal would only be viable with planning permission being granted for the front extension, ie studio 7.

·       The Planning Officer highlighted a number of benefits that will arise from the scheme as listed in the report not only specific to the residents of Islington and that the proposal represents improvements to the accessibility of the building. 

·       On the impact of the proposal on the heritage assets, The Planning Officers reminded Committee of it’s statutory duty to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the heritage assets and place great weight on this.

·       Members were of the view that the proposed public benefits although linked to the use of the building outweigh any substantial harm to the character and appearance of the heritage assets.

·       In response to a suggestion that the applicant use the services of local firms during construction especially with regards to the brick works, the Planning Officer advised that this could be an informative encouraging the use of local firms.

·       Members agreed that the rewording of condition 5 be delegated to the planning officer and the Chair as there is no reference to the use of blinds.


That following consideration of the case officer’s report (the assessment and recommendations therein), the presentation to Committee, submitted representations, planning permission be granted subject to the conditions and informatives set out in Appendix 1 of the officer report and subject to the prior completion of a Deed of Planning Obligation made under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 securing the heads of terms as set out in Appendix 1 of the officer report.


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