‘Secret garden’ for Hoxton Hotel close to final approval

Secret Garden: proposed roof terrace for Hoxton Hotel. Photograph: Ennismore.

A proposed rooftop ‘secret garden’ for the Hoxton Hotel is close to final approval, despite residents’ complaints of feeling ‘under siege’ by the impact of the neighbourhood’s late-night streetscene.

The seventh floor extension will house 220 people at any one time in its glazed bar and restaurant which will have “the feeling of a high-quality contemporary orangery”, subject to consultation with police by Hackney Council’s licensing sub-committee.

Since the introduction of the Shoreditch Special Policy Area (SPA), part of licensing restrictions introduced by Hackney Council earlier this year which sparked wide debate, the onus is on businesses to demonstrate there will be no ‘cumulative impact’ on an area caused by the granting of a licence.

Barrister Sarah Le Fevre, acting for developer and owner Ennismore, said: “What the aerial view and documents we’ve submitted don’t capture is quite how stunningly beautiful the cityscape is from this seventh floor.

“This is a hotelier heavily invested in and committed to Shoreditch. They are well aware that the council’s policy on cumulative impact says that the quality and track record of the applicant may not themselves be sufficient to prove there wouldn’t be a negative impact.

“As a matter of coincidence, its lifespan in Shoreditch has almost precisely mirrored the inception of the Licensing Act 2003, and so it is perhaps perfectly placed as a trader to have observed and grown up with those changes in Shoreditch that you know far better than I know. It has witnessed and identified those changes.

“It has also engaged and identified those tools that are available to it under the licensing regime to control any such risks so that it can confidently say there is no real risk of negative impact on the community.”

Since it opened in 2006, the Hoxton has opened branches in  London, Amsterdam, New York and Paris.

It soon made a name for itself as an ‘anti-hotel’ brand, with owner Sharan Pasricha stating in a Vogue interview earlier this year that the original concept aimed to ‘foster a sense of community.’

The Hoxton strove to reassure an 8 November meeting of Hackney’s licensing sub-committee that the impact of their extension would be negligible, pointing out that patrons would be mainly hotel guests, citing a comprehensive operational management plan, and pointing out that the terrace features triple-glazed windows.

However, whilst Cllr Peter Snell (Lab, Dalston) stated the sub-committee was “minded to grant” the licence, further consultation will be taking place with police on which exit people will take at the end of the night.

Resident Andrew Clark said: “We’re always reassured by applicants and the council, ‘Don’t worry, it’ll all be taken care of,’ and it never quite is. It’s entirely reasonable that the Hoxton will try to expand its business, but what the Hoxton does in its own interests is not going to fulfil mine.

“It therefore comes down to the licensing regulations to protect our interests as voters and residents. On a weekend summer’s night, rooftop bar customers are not capable of being quiet, and if it’s as beautiful as you say, it’ll be full at all times.

“The general incremental ratcheting up of noise, disturbance and antisocial behaviour gets worse and worse, and that becomes the baseline against which future projects are then measured. Why wouldn’t the Nobu Hotel get a roof terrace if the Hoxton get one?

“We have to start drawing some lines in the sand as to why further development can’t go on, or more people will move out. They already have done so.”

Real news stories don't come cheap.

The Hackney Citizen is the borough’s only independent newspaper, and is now in its tenth year.

Our hard-hitting journalism has uncovered fire safety failures in tower blocks, revealed plans to criminalise rough sleepers, exposed dodgy letting agents and reported on many other issues of public concern.

We’ve always been totally free in print and online, but advertising revenues are falling.

That’s why we’re asking for your help.

Hackney Citizen’s high quality journalism is produced by a small team on a shoestring budget, so we’re asking you to make a monthly contribution to fund our work, enabling the paper to survive and thrive.

Support the Hackney Citizen from as little as £2 per month.

Can you spare £4 a month or more? Get the paper delivered direct to your door each month! (UK only)