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East London's The Foundry set to be demolished for an 18-Storey hotel
February 04, 2010, 14:09
The Foundry, a renowned East London haunt for the alternative art scene, is set to be demolished and transformed into a hotel.
The venue, based in the heart of Shoreditch, is used as a gallery and pub but has also played host to some of the most appreciated UK talent, including Hot Chip, Pete Doherty and Banksy.
Hackney council approved plans last night to demolish the building and replace it with an 18-storey hotel and retail complex.
The gallery founders, Tracey and Jonathan Moberly are said to be angry that the council refused to acknowledge the venue as an important hub for artists in the borough, and in the surrounding east of London.
The Guardian reported that the couple expected to be evicted by April, when the site will be cleared for the construction of a circular tower block by award-winning architects Squire and Partners (see picture).
The Moberlys were quoted to have said they were "pretty resigned" to the fact that the Foundry would close, and had no objections to the conduct of the architects or the developers, Park Plaza hotels.
"That's fair enough. This isn't our building, we've been renting, and they have been supportive in helping us look for another premises," said Tracey Moberly.
For those worried about one of the biggest Banksy murals in Britain on the walls of the Foundry, the council intends to protect it. The planned redevelopment, part of the Art'otel chain, will also incorporate gallery and retail space and a spa.
The council specified its intention in the planning officer's report for the "safe removal and retention of 'Banksy' art work" – a six-metre high mural of a rat with a knife and fork over which the building's owners have constructed a protective wooden covering.
A spokeswoman for Squire and Partners said: "The aim of the client and design team is to permanently locate the artworks on site, in one of the public galleries at ground floor – this is to be agreed with Hackney council."
A spokesman from Hackney Council said it would not comment on any aspect of the development ahead of the planning meeting.
For background information on the Foundry, see the Guardian's article.
Banksy courtesy of Yo What Happened To Peace on Flickr