By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter
A South London nightclub fears it may have to close its doors forever if two tower blocks of new homes are built nearby.
The Ruby Lounge, off the Old Kent Road in Southwark, has been welcoming partygoers through its doors for 17 years.
But its future is now under threat by the construction of 262 flats in two blocks around the corner from the nightspot.
The venue’s owner, Stephen Kakooza, 50, is concerned residents of the planned apartments will complain about noise from the club, which welcomes punters until the early hours at the weekend.
He said: “It will put us out of business.
“We’re fighting a losing battle. If someone pays for a decent apartment for £500,000 and there’s noise, then they will complain.
“No matter what measures you put in place, when people leave a nightclub they will be rowdy.
“We employ 12 permanent staff and if we go out of business those people will be unemployed.
“We came back stronger from the pandemic but what can we do? We’re small fish in the pond as they say.”
Mr Kakooza added he was frustrated that the plans appeared to have been rushed through
He said: “I’ve not heard from Southwark council. They haven’t said ‘we have meetings, do you guys want to come and discuss?’
“I believe they look at it and they say ‘you don’t give back to us much and the 200 flats will give us so much more in tax rates.’”
The ex-Office Outlet stationary store on the Old Kent Road will be demolished under the plans to build the two tower blocks that have been approved by Southwark council.
Shops, offices and a new park will also be constructed as part of the project.
A total of 262 flats will be spread across a 19-storey and 10-storey tower – and just over 28 percent will be available at cheaper social rents.
The ground floor, first floor and mezzanine levels of the tower blocks will be reserved for shops and offices.
The site sits next to the ongoing Ruby Triangle regeneration scheme which will see 1,152 new homes built off the Old Kent Road once completed.
Southwark council planning documents say: “Full planning permission is sought for the demolition of the existing building on the site and construction of a mixed use development comprising residential, commercial and flexible retail uses.
“[A total of] 262 new dwellings are proposed, 39.8 per cent of which would be affordable.
“[The] development completes the consented Ruby Triangle masterplan and provides the remaining area of public open space.”
Developer Urban & Provincial said: “Working closely with the London Borough of Southwark and our development partner Avanton, we are currently proposing to deliver a new public park, a further 260 residential units and circa 20,000 sq ft retail and workspace.
“Our proposals also include 40 per cent affordable housing delivering much needed family homes in the Borough of Southwark.
“The scheme also hosts various shared spaces such as roof terraces, landscaped gardens and ‘communal hubs’ to foster a spirit of togetherness and family.”
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