AIR studios (many of @DavidGArnold’s scores recorded there) is still under threat

Press play, listen to some lovely Sherlock music and please sign these three petitions (right click, open in new tab/ window if you want to continue listening) and then share them with your friends 🙂

(a) Save AIR Studios – a 38 Degrees petition
 (if you do not have a UK postcode please use AIR’s which is NW3 5NG)

(b) Stop intrusive basement developments – a 38 Degrees petition
 (if you do not have a UK postcode please use AIR’s which is NW3 5NG)

(c) Impose Nationwide moratorium on basement applications and change planning rules – a Parliament UK petition (open only to UK residents)

I once failed to get a ticket for a BBC live recording of an orchestral event at AIR Studios and remain hopeful that there might be a re-run. However it’s possible that there won’t be, if the neighbours get their way. The building (designed by Alfred Waterhouse who gave us the Natural History Museum) is next to a private dwelling whose basement the owners have decided to tinker with.

Basement tinkering can cause an awful lot of problems to people living or working nearby. Assuming no overt disasters (such as the recent collapse following an excavation ‘oops’) everyone will still be disturbed by people measuring, surveying and poking not to mention drilling and then eventually digging.

None of this is particularly ideal for a building which acts as a RECORDING STUDIO where, other than the music being recorded, everything should ideally be QUITE QUIET. Speaking as someone who’s had a year of building work outside my office window I can attest that it’s noisy, but at least I’m not trying to make any subtle sound recordings.

Many of David Arnold’s scores have been recorded at AIR (he and other composers have signed a letter supporting the studio, that was recently published in The Telegraph). If you’ve enjoyed any of the following film and television scores at the cinema, at home or perhaps at one of David’s amazing concerts, you might like to know that they were all recorded (or part-recorded) there –

  • Casino Royale
  • The Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader
  • Die Another Day
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Jekyll and Hyde
  • Little Britain
  • Paul
  • Quantum of Solace
  • Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)
  • Stargate
  • Sherlock (TV, with Michael Price)
  • Venus
  • Zoolander
  • also the Olympics

Lots of musicians, composers and orchestras work at AIR Studios. If the studios aren’t available then they may be able to use Abbey Road studios in the short term or they’ll have to go elsewhere. If the infrastructure for keeping AIR available as a working recording studio becomes untenable then the building will struggle to remain open and will mean that a lot of business could be lost.

AIR and their staff and lawyers are now fighting two battles – one specifically to stop the basement activities that directly affect the studios, the other taking a wider view on the problems that basement excavations can cause more generally (there are two companion petitions for this one, at 38DEGREES and UK PARLIAMENT – only UK folk can sign the Parliament one, but for the 38DEGREES ones those abroad can use AIR’s postcode which is NW3 5NG.

Those petitions again… please sign, and tell a friend

  1. SAVE AIR STUDIOS:  https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-air-studios
  2. Stop intrusive basement developments: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-intrusive-basement-developments
  3. Impose Nationwide moratorium on basement applications and change planning rules: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/118471

NOTE: On 29 January 2016 there will be a 2nd reading of a private members’ bill: Basement Excavation (Restriction of Permitted Development) Bill. More parliamentary discussions where the term ‘basement excavation‘ is used.

Further reading
(right click on the links below to open in a new tab / window if you want to stay here and enjoy this lovely Stargate music)

Queen’s niece halts neighbour’s plan for ‘his and hers’ wardrobes in basement under Grade II terrace (Evening Standard) 12 January 2016

Arts luminaries warn world-famous recording studio threatened by ‘iceberg’ basement plans (The Telegraph) 12 January 2016
George Michael, Brian May and Joanna Lumley are among the signatories of a letter to The Telegraph, calling on planners to throw out proposals to excavate close to Air Studios, in Hampstead

Diplomats use Vienna Convention to fight London basement digout (The Telegraph) 9 January 2016
A property magnate’s plans to build a multistorey basement on London’s most expensive street are causing tension

House collapse in Barnes: Pop star Duffy’s former London house caves in ‘like tower of cards’ (Evening Standard) 26 November 2015

Camden moves to fight policy allowing basements to be built without planning permission (Camden New Journal) 6 November 2015

Basement building in London faces safety scrutiny (Health and Safety Executive) 2 March 2015

“A two-day inspection initiative of basement projects in high-value London boroughs is to be carried out by the Health and Safety Executive next week. (w/c 9 March).

Construction inspectors will be focusing on sites in two boroughs – Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham – in a bid to improve safety in the increasingly popular basement sector.

This action follows a number a number of fatal incidents, as well as serious injuries, in the capital in recent years relating to basement projects.

Over the last 10 years, HSE has received reports of 17 construction workers having died as a result of an excavation collapsing, whilst in the same period 27 were seriously injured.

In December 2014, following the death of a labourer in a basement excavation collapse in Fulham, a company director was found guilty of manslaughter offences and jailed.”

Builder killed in floor collapse (Construction news) 6 December 2010
A builder working on a basement excavation in south-west London has been crushed to death by a collapsing floor.