Iconic film set location ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ set for demolition to be replaced with tower block

BY GRAINNE CUFFE
Local Democracy Reporter
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

The set of the movie which made a star of Daniel Day-Lewis will be demolished after town hall planners approved a tower block to be built instead.

Lambeth councillors agreed a seven-storey building could replace existing shops at 3 to 27 Wilcox Road, Vauxhall, which includes Taste of the Mediterranean restaurant – the set of the My Beautiful Laundrette film from 1985.

The British Film Institute ranked the Stephen Frears film, which starred Greenwich-raised Day-Lewis and Gordon Warnecke, as the 50th greatest British film of the 20th century.

A laundrette on the road will also be demolished as part of the plans, although it is not the site where the movie was shot.

A report by planners said there will be a “loss of local landmarks”, adding: “Many of the buildings that will be demolished as part of this proposal have cultural significance as they are still the original buildings that can be seen in the film My Beautiful Laundrette.

“The building itself is of no architectural significance and there is no objection from the council’s conservation and design team to its demolition.

“Officers have reached agreement with the applicant to provide a plaque on the new building to identify the site of which this film was set in which is currently operating as Taste of the Mediterranean restaurant.”

The surrounding cafés, restaurants, a nursery, off licence and a William Hill betting shop will also be knocked down.

The developers plan to build two blocks ranging from two to seven storeys with 22 apartments, redevelop the current nursery to include an open space, and build four shops and two café/restaurants on the site.

The project was approved, despite objections from nearby residents who said the height of the proposed seven-storey buildings is “completely out of character” with the area while there would be a loss of parking for residents.

Wyvil Estate Residents’ Association said: “The plans are based on the development being undertaken on land for which residents on the Wyvil Estate pay the upkeep and maintenance, including the private road, Luscombe Way, which is an access road within the estate.

“At least one parking bay (a disabled parking bay) is designed to be within the boundary of the Wyvil Estate in a private road, Luscombe Way, which currently has a number of estate resident parking bays on the side opposite the proposed building but the road is so narrow that no parking is permissible on the side on which the proposed parking is shown on the plans.

“This is not only a parking development proposed on private land belonging to the estate but also a proposal that would have serious health and safety consequences because it would block emergency vehicle access as well as prevent movement of estate-based vehicles.

“It is understood there is a proposal for late licensing for at least one of the new premises being built to offer night entertainment.

“This is a quiet family, residential area and residents do not want loud, noisy crowds late at night in a new entertainment facility on their doorstep.”

The council will decide whether to grant planning permission at 7pm on Tuesday, November 5.
Mr Day-Lewis was born and raised in Greenwich by Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis and his second wife actress Jill Balcon, whose father Sir Michael was head of Ealing Studios.

Their son went on to make his name in the film My Left Foot – for which he won an Oscar – the Last of the Mohicans, Gangs of New York, Lincoln and There Will Be Blood.

My Beautiful Laundrette was set in Battersea during the Thatcher years, the comedy/drama focuses on the relationships between Pakistani and English communities.

The story follows Omar, played by Mr Warnecke, and a fascist thug, Johnny, played by Day-Lewis, who become joint caretakers of a laundrette originally owned by Omar’s uncle.

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