Owner David Gray, who's also a musician, has applied to local authorities to convert Church Studios in North London into five apartments and office space, despite objections from some neighbors. Eurythmics partners Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart turned the former chapel into a studio in 1984, and the oak-paneled main room, one of the largest recording spaces remaining in London, has hosted sessions by Dylan, Costello, Radiohead and Depeche Mode. Gray bought Church Studios in 2003. He's best known for his platinum-selling 1998 album White Ladder.
Gray's architect says the recording facilities "are now obsolete and do not offer a viable future for the building," though local residents say that losing the space would have "a significant effect on the vitality of the local arts scene" and the local musicians who use the space.
Stewart once lived with Lennox in an apartment adjoining the studio, where they recorded songs including "Sweet Dreams." The songwriter and producer said recently on Facebook that he sympathizes with Gray.
"It has so many memories for me," Stewart wrote. "Not just recording sessions. I would host evening soirees with poets, philosophers, musicians, etc. . . . Dylan would turn up with his band and hold court, or Joni Mitchell would play drums! Things have changed now. Music Scene is not the same, I understand him [David Gray] having to sell. I wasn't bothered about the cost of running it (always at a loss)."
No date is set to consider Gray's application to convert the space, but the planning committee of the local council holds monthly meetings.