Ladies & Gentlemen

Kentish Town

We overcame numerous planning challenges to enable an ambitious entrepreneur to transform disused public lavatories into a fashionable cocktail bar in Kentish Town.

The proposed conversion of the Victorian lavatories, which had been closed for 20 years, prompted the local council to raise a number of concerns about the suitability of the site.

The fact that the site was located underground, at a busy junction, not only presented a number of construction challenges, but also posed questions about customer safety and the management of deliveries.

Apart from handling the preparation and submission of a planning application, we also managed lengthy negotiations with the council and members of the project team to ensure that all the issues raised were successfully addressed.

Although the council were originally opposed to the scheme, we were able to suggest mitigation measures to overcome their concerns – securing permission so that the space could be transformed as quickly as possible.

The appropriately named “Ladies & Gentlemen” cocktail bar opened in January 2015 and has already picked up a number of awards and accolades including a listing in Time Out’s Top 100 Bars and in the Evening Standard’s Top 50 Bars in London. As well as enjoying some well-made cocktails and snacks, customers are able to admire some of the quirky venue’s original features – including white tiles and a marble floor.

The few local people who objected to the scheme and wanted the long-disused lavatories to be reopened are now warmly invited to pop in for a cocktail and use the bar’s facilities!

Summary of achievements

  • Helping to bring a disused underground site back into use
  • Preparation and submission of the planning application
  • Management of the project team
  • Discussion and negotiation with the local planning authority to address safety and operational concerns
  • Formal liaison with Camden Council on the Section 106 planning obligations agreement