The independent London newspaper

BBC fears care home building work could disrupt Symphony Orchestra

New care home and flats plan next to famous Maida Vale Studios where Beatles and Tom Jones played

17 March, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

CONSTRUCTION work for a new care home could disrupt the BBC Symphony Orchestra playing at its iconic studios, the corporation has warned.

Proposals for a new 84-bed care home in Shirland Road, submitted by Westminster Council, were approved by a planning committee this week.

But the BBC had said it was “very concerned” that construction noise could disrupt its musical work at Maida Vale Studios, in Delaware Road, where artists from The Beatles and Tom Jones to Snow Patrol have played.

The broadcaster said in its response to the council’s application: “Our building is the home of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and while the BBC is neutral in respect of the nature of the applicants’ proposals, we are very concerned about the potential for disturbance to our business arising from noise and vibration during the construction process.”

The council said its care home, Beachcroft House, will provide support for people with dementia and other complex conditions and would include gardens, en-suite facilities, and activity rooms.

The BBC has asked to work closely with the officers and the development team, to “minimise impacts and ensure that noise does not disrupt our operations”.

The studios have been used for many popular recordings and live broadcasts featured on BBC Radio 1, as well as drama sessions. The site was built in 1909 as a roller skating palace, and was first taken over by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1933 which has staged many free concerts there.

The plans, which also include 31 private flats over four to five storeys, were approved at Tuesday’s planning meeting. Forty of the care home beds would “provide affordable accommodation for means-tested residents,” and would also include a community space.

There were 38 objections to the plans, mainly concerned with parking, traffic, noise and pollution.

Cllr Jan Prendergast said: “Car parking in Maida Vale is close to saturation point. We simply do not have enough kerb space to satisfy car parking and additional pressure would sim- ply exacerbate the problem.”

Cllr Heather Acton, cabinet member for adult social services and public health said after the meeting: “This exceptional new care home will support residents being active and valued members of the community. Residents will live safely and with dignity in appropriate housing, with access to high quality sup- port when needed.”

The chairman of the planning committee, Cllr Andrew Smith, said yesterday (Thursday): “The council considered the orchestra’s concerns as part of the planning process but concluded that the benefits of the development for some of Westminster’s most vulnerable older residents outweigh the potential inconvenience caused by the construction process.

“The council recently introduced a new code of construction practice to help ensure all building work in the city, big or small, is considerate to neighbours. Our staff also make regular visits to building sites in Westminster and take action to deal with disturbances that excessively inconvenience local people.”

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