Abbey Road, the recording studios made famous by the Beatles, was designated a historic site by the government yesterday to protect the pop music shrine against any plans to radically alter it.
Reports last week that owners EMI were to sell the studios attracted worldwide interest and sparked fears the site might be converted into a residential development.
Culture minister Margaret Hodge declared the iconic venue a Grade II listed building – the second-highest category – on the advice of national preservation body English Heritage.
In a statement she said the listing had been granted “overwhelmingly on the historic merit of the studios”.
The new status means any proposed alterations must respect the character and preservation of the site.