Dear Save Soho supporters
The Good news
Since the Mayor voiced his concerns about the government’s permitted development rights, Westminster are now consulting on changes to their Local Plan to try and safeguard some of their office space. The consulatation ends in 2 days.
You and I have until this friday to put in objections on the government’s National Planning Framework. This is the legislation that is curently threatening all bars, clubs, entrtainment venues and creative spaces in Soho.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Please write a letter of objection to the Government’s new Permitted Development Rights. These rights are at the heart of what is threatening the character and spirit of Soho.
Send your objection to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please see our own letter of objection below
The time is now.
Objections with regard to Government policy relating to the change of use concerning previous office usage into residential units
We strenuously object to the current policy of allowing commercial premises to convert to residential usage. We find the premise this is based on has not taken into consideration the very real consequences this has on already existing premises with regards to specifically Music and entertainment venues that are already established, with residential units being either placed above or beside such venues it allows for the developers to create conditions using current enforcement legislation to force the existing business either to ruinous expense in relation to sound proofing such a venue or in the worst case forcing their closure. It seems to us that this is grossly unfair and a curtailment of an established venue by a developer who in the past would have been unable to change the usage of commercial properties without local government approval.
This is especially pertinent to Soho that is world famous for its venues, bars, restaurants and clubs that make up the fabric and define the area, rather than new residential developments that are now being proposed which are above these premises, which prior to the government policy change would remain as offices for this very reason.
To allow developers to change the usage into residential with no consultation and then allow them to object to noise from existing venues and to allow enforcement of legislation seems to be destroying the very unique character and spirit that is Soho. It also allows for the development of these venues into residential properties by exploiting this.
With trepidation for the future.
The Save Soho Committee
Stephen Fry, Actor and writer – Chairman
Tim Arnold, Singer Songwriter – Founder of Save Soho (Soho resident)
Guy Hamilton, Partner at BHB Agency Ltd – Founder Member
Benedict Cumberbatch, Actor – Founder Member
Colin Vaines, Film producer (Soho resident)
Alexander Parsonage, Theatre director
Howard Raymond, Chairman of Raymond Estates