Published on February 11, 2013 | by Julie Smith

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Historic Holborn Studios under threat

holborn studios exterior

Holborn Studios faces the threat of closure. [Robert Lamb]

An east London photography studio that has seen notable UAL alumni including Rankin pass through its doors is under threat of demolition.

Plans to replace Holborn Studios with flats, a shopping centre and comercial spaces have been proposed by the land owners Gold Property Developments (GPD), the Hackney Gazette reported.

The family-run studio is based in Hoxton and has immortalised many famous faces ranging from Madonna to Margaret Thatcher.

The redevelopment plans could lead to the loss of 100 jobs, the demolition of the studios and the possible closure of the company, according to the Help save the home of Holborn Studios website.

GPD think the changes, which could happen when the studio’s lease expires in 2014, will meet the needs of the expanding creative industries in the Old Street area.

Favourite

Holborn Studios is the largest photographic studio hire complex in Europe and has been a favourite amongst photographers for 23 years.

In addition to its photography complex, Holborn Studios employs 120 staff in 25 media companies, including the Daily Mirror, Open Fundraising, the Norrie Carr child modelling agency and a variety of independent film, fashion and PR businesses, the Hackney Gazette reported.

“When Holborn Studios moved into this area there weren’t any canal-side apartments or gastro pubs.” Holborn Studios managing director, Billy McCartney

Managing director Billy McCartney, whose parents founded the company 34 years ago, told Arts London News that the proposals undermine the many benefits Holborn Studios has brought to the area.

He said: “We are a local employer that sources from local businesses where we can. When Holborn Studios moved into this area there weren’t any canal-side apartments or gastro pubs.

“We have gentrified the area by spending millions of pounds renovating a near derelict property, adding a huge amount of security and working with local residents.”

Opposition

The proposed developments have met fierce opposition from celebrities and local residents alike.

Protesters including celebrity photographer Nicky Johnston are lobbying Hackney Council to refuse planning permission.

McCartney said: “We have set up a website where people can leave their views on the proposed redevelopment. We have had over 1,000 responses against demolition and just two that are for it.

“Once the council has validated the planning application we will then send these responses to the council. We understand that several local residents associations are also campaigning against the development.”

Insufficient

A spokesman for GPD said the company has reassured the McCartney family that the plans “do not preclude their future occupation of a redeveloped building”.

“It has been the scene of so many great pictures, with so many great stories behind them and that is irreplaceable.” Holborn Studios managing director, Billy McCartney

However, McCartney claims that the proposals are insufficient for the studios to continue operating at the site.

“We have seen nothing that will work for us,” McCartney explained. “Although we have been offered space, which might work in cubic footage, we need space that is triple height for the photographs.

“There is so much history in this place. It has been the scene of so many great pictures, with so many great stories behind them and that is irreplaceable.”

To register your support for Holborn Studios click here.

 

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