Photo by dartar
The danger to Ministry’s future comes from a 41-storey, 335-apartment development called Eileen House on Newington Causeway, which is to be built right next to the club’s Elephant & Castle venue. The management have filed a complaint on the grounds that, should the club be suddenly neighboured by 1,000 johnny-come-lately residents, the license would be revoked, Ministry be forced to close, and Boy George’s DJ career finally be curtailed.
Property developer Oakmayne have now responded with soothing noises, saying that they’re prepared to throw £400,000 at Ministry for soundproofing, alongside reserving the ground floors of the development for commercial use and making prospective residents fully aware that they’d be buying a gaffe within bowel-distempering distance of a 140dB(A) sound system. Ministry have countered by saying that the soundproofing work would force the club’s closure for up to a year, and are refusing to withdraw their objection to the project, which is currently being mulled over by the greybeards at Southwark council.
London is fast losing some of its best (or at least best-known) clubs — Turnmills has gone, ditto Herbal, and venues like the Astoria and The Cross now linger only in the addled minds of former patrons. Meanwhile, the war between sound pollutants and monied new residents saw a victory for the latter last year, when it was announced that the Barbican would close two cinemas to appease residents in the new Frobisher Crescent flats. Ministry’s intransigence is perhaps not surprising — they’ve been there 19 years, long before gentrification’s forked tongue licked Elephant & Castle — and it’s to be hoped that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached.