19 Lower Clapton Road (Apollo video store)

This is @nightboat ‘s application for the Apollo video store at 19 Lower Clapton RoadApplication Number: 2011/0935Site Address: 19 Lower Clapton Road London E5 0NS Application Type: Full Planning Permission Development Type: Residential Conversion Proposal: Change of use of the ground floor from shop (Class A1) into two units comprising of a shop or art gallery (Class A1 or D1) and a coffee shop/patisserie (Class A3); conversion of the first and second floors from offices (Class B1) into two residential units (2 X 2-bedroom); erection of a second floor rear extension along with associated external alterations to building including replacement shopfront. Current Status: REGISTERED Agent: Urban Mesh Design Ltd Location Co ordinates: Easting 535075 Northing 185347 Case Officer / Tel: John Kaimakamis 020 8356 8056 Division: South Planning Officer: John Kaimakamis Existing Land Use: Dwelling houses (whether or not as a sole or main residence) Proposed Land Use: Dwelling houses (whether or not as a sole or main residence) More details here or if the link is broken use search”


  1. @nightboat – I really like the plans. I didn’t have time to look at all the drawings but have read the Design and Access statement and it is a joy to read of someone doing things properly rather than trying to split up and destroy buildings into the smallest possible residential units to maximise developer yield and ruin the character of out area’s buildings. I think the wood shop frontage will look fab – I’m a massive fan of painted shop fronts – what colour are you thinking of going for?Good luck with the application, I’ll make supportive comments online with the Hackney planning system and I hope you get approval. I look forward to coming in for a coffee in 2012!

  2. @philaldis Thanks for that, I genuinely appreciate the sentiments. Let’s hope they’re shared by the Council! There are a few policies in their new Core Strategy that could prove problematic. I’d be gutted if the application were refused; I’d have to start implementing the 2006 consent, which would be a shame because I don’t think it’s as good.Not decided on the shopfront colour yet. Any suggestions? I’m all ears!

  3. @nightboat May I ask what it is about their Core Strategy that could cause problems?If you’re going for the heritage approach, personally I’d go for one of the dark \earth colours” – maybe a dark green in matt finish – on both the shopfront and window frames.”

  4. I was going to also suggest a dark green colour. Think it would look great alongside the greenery of the square. We have the bottom half of our hallway painted in F&B Olive, which looks great, but I think something more like Castle Grey or Card Room Green would look stunning. To be honest any dark F&B colour would look awesome and I think Benjamin’s right, more earthy tones would really work well. In the F&B colours, you’d have to use an eggshell finish (which isn’t really that shiny) as I think their Matts aren’t suitable for exterior use.

  5. @nightboat I think your plans look wonderful and reckon the development will be a massive improvement to both Clapton Square and the area in general. I really hope that they’re accepted. I can’t imagine what the objections would be, given the plans look sympathetic both to the original building and the surrounding area. I’m curious as well to know why they might be turned down? I agree with the above posters about dark green, I think it could look very striking indeed, especially with the development being in such a prominent position.

  6. Thanks for the suggestions and positive feedback, all gratefully received. There is a policy in the Core Strategy that seeks to protect any space last used for employment. It’s worded in quite an unequivocal way. As I’m seeking to change the use of the upper floors from offices to flats, this could be a problem. The fact that permission was granted for exactly that in 2006 sadly counts for little; it’s the new 2010 policies that count.

  7. @nightboat As @philaldis suggests, Farrow & Ball do a good range. Another company is ‘Little Greene’ who work with English Heritage. See this link for some of their Period Paint Colours complete with a Period Key to date them. But be careful, choosing colour online; My favourite (‘Invisible Green’) doesn’t look in reality anything like it does on my screen. You can get test pots for Little Greene paints at Leyland SDM at Shoreditch or Balls Pond Rd.http://www.littlegreene.com/paint/colour/period-paint-coloursAlso, it’s easier if you get your windows pre-painted before installation, so don’t leave colour selection as a last-minute decision. Good luck.

  8. @nightboat But Hackney are always giving permission to developers to change commercial premises eg, pubs, into residential. Surely the upper floors of a once residential period property won’t be a issue? Seems a little crazy if it is!

  9. @benjamin Thanks for the paint suggestions – will investigate. As for the planning issue, when Hackney talks about ’employment uses’, they’re usually referring to uses in the B use classes, especially B1 (offices). For the past few years, their policies on this issue had been relatively weak. But the new policies in the Core Strategy change all that. And because the CS is so new (adopted only last November), it remains to be seen how strictly officers will apply the policies in practice.

  10. I also think the plans are fantastic and will dramatically improve the appearance of the surrounding area. I live a couple of houses down from Apollo on Clapton Square so having a local coffee shop/patisserie sounds fabulous and very exciting!

    It struck me looking at the 2005 decision this morning in light of the above discussion that that this approved planning application already inacted the change of use from B to residential – is this not the case? Are the offices currently in use? Agree that the 2005 plans are inferior to the current – particularly as they did not appear to make as significant change/improvement to the ground floor shop front.

    I certainly will be submitting my comments in support of the proposals – best of luck!

  11. @kate @nightboat I didn’t realise before that you could add comments to the application, but I have now just done so to add my support to the development. I really hope it goes through without opposition.

  12. @Jason you can certainly submit comments via the planning website. Hackney planning have written to me directly asking for comments as one of the immediate neighbours. If there’s anything we can do to support, think we should do it!

  13. @kate @jason Really pleased you’re supporting the application, it’s very much appreciated.

    @kate The 2006 planning permission for converting the offices to flats was never implemented, not even in part… It expires in June, so provided work commenced before the June cut-off date, the 2006 consent could still be implemented. At the moment the building’s been completely gutted inside, so isn’t usable for anything in its current state.

  14. @nightboat But if all you have to do is commence the work for the 2006 permission for conversion to residential to be implemented, why not just lift a few boards, then apply for a simple extention to a residential dwelling? Or since you’ve already gutted the building, surely work has already commenced and therefore it is already classed as \residential”? Or have I missed something?”

  15. @benjamin Well, I think the gutting of the building wouldn’t necessarily count – I think there has to be proper construction work than preliminary demolition work, if I understand correctly.

  16. Thankfully, I needn’t have worried. Planning permission has just been granted. Woo-hoo! What a relief…

  17. Great news! I can’t wait for my first \Apollo” coffee :)”

  18. Excellent news indeed, you must be ecstatic! Really looking forward to seeing it all come together. How soon do you think work will start? Can’t wait to see that ‘orrible empty shop transformed!

  19. It’ll probably be another few months before the main body of works starts. Of course I’d like it to be sooner, but tendering takes a few weeks, then there’s applications for Building Control and all sorts of other things that all take time, alas…

  20. Congrats! Looking forward to its opening.

  21. Thanks!

  22. @nightboat @alexpink posted this link on a different topic, but it includes an old pic of Clapton Police station from 1912. You can also see a part of your shop if you’re interested;

  23. Thanks for that – a tantalising glimpse indeed.

  24. Hi @nightboat  I was just wondering if you’ve hired all your staff yet? I have a friend who is interested in applying if not? Thanks, Jason.

  25. Hi @jason, so sorry I didn’t reply yet – I’ve been so busy I haven’t checked into yeah! Hackney for ages… oops. I haven’t hired any staff yet, no. Is your friend still interested in applying? What does he or she do?

  26. Hi @nightboat, no worries, I guessed you’d must have had loads on! My friend’s basically an artist/designer, but is looking for part-time work. I think he’s pretty flexible on hours and has had some retail/customer service experience before, but not sure if you’re only looking for trained barista’s etc? He lives on the square, so is obviously very local. If you’re interested, I’m sure he’d love to get in touch and maybe send his CV to you?By the way, love the way the cafe’s shaping up. You must be very pleased with how it’s coming on?

  27. Hi @jason, I love the idea of employing someone who lives on the square – now that’s a commute we’d all want! At the moment I’m looking at recruiting full-time staff only, although if that changes (and it may well) then I’ll certainly bear your friend in mind. As for the building, well I am fairly happy with the way it’s looking, although the whole thing is taking a lot longer than I anticipated. Apart from the shopfront, not much work has taken place on the cafe yet – it’s all been focused on the flats upstairs and the retail unit. The shopfront will be finished next week, the flats and retail unit later this month and hopefully the cafe will open late May/early June. Nearer the time I’ll start posting more updates on Twitter; follow @dreyfuscafe if you’re interested.

  28. I’ve just posted this in the Dreyfus Cafe thread in the Foodie Hackney group but feel it would be a good idea to post it here, too, just in case. Basically I’d like a bit of advice. It’s a simply cut-and-paste job, I’m afraid, so I’m sorry if you’ve read it twice… If you look at the shopfront from Clapton Square, you can see that the floor level of both the cafe and retail unit are raised a fair bit from the pavement – more than is normally the case. This is because of the basement where the cafe’s kitchen will be. (I had the choice to level with the pavement, but that would mean kissing goodbye to the basement. No basement would mean no commercial kitchen, which would mean severely limiting my food offer.) I’d like to invite suggestions as to the preferred way of treating this space. The retail-unit entrance is here, and next to that is a secondary cafe entrance, which is supposed to be for wheelchair-users. (The main entrance will be the same as it was for Apollo Videos). One idea is to have a couple of steps, with separate detachable disabled ramps to enable wheelchair accees when needed. Another is a permanent concrete or tiled ramp, but I worry that this will be too obtrusive, view-wise. Another solution is a decked terrace with built-in ramps, which would be great for al-fresco tables but would look even more obtrusive and I’m sure wouldn’t go down very well with… well, anyone, really. So, what do you think, folks?

  29. do you have an option of having a temporary ramp under building regs? If so why not just start with that – if demand is strong enough that it becomes an issue it shouldnt cost a fortune to get a permanent ramp built.

  30. Or you could have an internal ramp up from ground level? You’d lose a bit of head height in the basement but that wouldnt be a major issue if it isnt a main walkway or gets in the way of the plant down there.

  31. Hey @nightboat As there are now a few threads/conversations happening about this I’m going to close this one which was originally about the planning application that has been granted. The Dreyfus cafe thread is over here: http://www.yeahhackney.com/dreyfus-cafe/ @GavinRedknap it might be worth reposting about the ramp over there.”

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