Queen's Brian May joins campaign to save AIR Studios

Guitarist calls for Camden Council to reject disruptive construction plans proposed by the Hampstead studio's neighbours.
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Queen guitarist Brian May has backed the ongoing campaign to save AIR Studios from potentially disruptive construction work planned by its neighbours.

He joins the dispute which argues that the Hampstead-based studio could suffer up to six months of interruptions if planning consent is granted by Camden Council, leading to fears that he facility will lose its status as a prime destination for projects such as movie soundtrack recordings.

May recently co-founded a group that seeks to ban London homeowners from building ‘mega-basements’ beneath their homes due to their part in ‘destroying decent residential areas’.

“Basements in construction are the scourge of residents’ lives,” the musician said. “They take years to complete, generate noise, dust and pollution for many months and even years, causing serious trauma and depression for the neighbours. They can also cause untold physical damage which may not manifest itself for years after the developer has sold and moved on.”

“The plans relating to the house next to AIR Studios are no exception,” May continued. “Given the outstanding contribution to the British music and film industries which AIR Studios makes, it is almost unbelievable to me personally that Camden Council has not thrown out this developer’s application already. I call on them to reject it outright in the name of decency, and spare the applicants further time and costs in pursuing this selfish and unreasonable application.”

Actor Greg Wise has also joined the debate, echoing May’s statements: “I find it extraordinary that an application can put into jeopardy one of the most important facets of the British film industry.”

Other vocal supporters in defence of the facility include playwright David Hare and Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer.

These statements follow the news earlier this month that Hampstead neigh­bourhood campaigner Jessica Learmond-Criqui helped amass an 8,700 name-strong petition backing the studio's case, claiming 'the livelihoods of just under 100,000 musicians...not to mention the British film industry' would be negatively affected by the plans. 

The proposal is now thought likely to be transferred to elected councillors. The architects involved in the project have defended the plans, claiming the work will 'not result in any harm to the amenity of neighbouring occupiers'. 

Sources: Camden New Journal, Evening Standard

Picture: www.airstudios.com

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