Update on the Save Cork Street Campaign

Good evening all. The following blog entry may be of particular interest to artists and art followers working or visiting London. The following is an update from the Save Cork Street Campaign I reported on a few months ago.

‘As many of you have asked us about recent developments in the Cork Street matter, we thought it was time to send you a short update.

The developers, Ten Acre (Mayfair)/ Native Land, are doing exactly what they threatened to do when they first became aware of the opposition to their plans on Cork Street – using their virtually unlimited foreign funds, they are burying the galleries in legal costs, hoping that the latter will give up the fight. This has worked in as much as a number of galleries have been economically forced to give in and sign over their rights that would otherwise be guaranteed by the Tenant Act. There are currently three galleries (and a nightclub on Old Burlington Street, the other side of the planned development) left in the fight.

The galleries have made objections to the proposed plan in order to enforce their rights under the Tenant Act. In response, among other things, Ten Acre (Mayfair)/ Native Land demanded specific disclosure (they were not satisfied with what was disclosed under standard disclosure) from Alpha Gallery, Mayor Gallery, Stoppenbach & Delestre Gallery, and the Embassy night club at 29 Old Burlington Street, in the process threatening to seek exorbitant costs from the galleries. Each gallery has been forced to spend tens of thousands of pounds for solicitors’ and barristers’ fees in preparation for the court case. Most recently, Native Land is attempting to force a confidentiality agreement and suppress the galleries from freedom of speech.

Across the street, Pollen Estate was recently given approval for their development (that affects 5-9 Cork Street) by Westminster Council, under stringent guidelines to provide small galleries that would be displaced in their redevelopment. However, the Native Land proposal is completely different and intends to destruct the building they purchased from Standard Life (for 96 million) and build a residential building and is currently not guaranteeing the replacement of small galleries.

It would be a sad day to see Cork Street end up like areas in Paris and other cities that were once lively, vibrant and culturally interesting, but have now become dark with expensive apartments that are rarely frequented.

It appears to be another get-rich-quick scheme with foreign money and no long term interest in the community – as proven by the fact that, despite their having over 680,000 square feet of residential space, they are refusing to provide any affordable housing on site.

If you, like us, agree that this is an important issue, we urge you to contact Councillor Alastair Moss at amoss@westminster.gov.uk of City of Westminster Council and Paul Quayle at pquayle@westminster.gov.uk of City of Westminster Council Development Planning, referencing 13/01715/FULL and express your views on this matter.

Thank you for your ongoing support!’

Save Cork Street Campaign

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