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.


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:

Please see our own letter of objection below

More information

The time is now.

Save Soho

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


  1. Soho is one of the first thing I marked in my book when I started to plan my trip to London, it’s the British equivalent of Montmartre in Paris.
    Don’t destroy it, let the London we all adore keeping its Soho.
    Don’t take the taste off such an amazing city.

  2. New York is suffering the closure of dozens of venues and restaurants due to local noise abatement laws. These have been forced upon them by the influx of wealthy people buying up the city’s gleaming new apartment blocks. Creative people and businesses are being driven out of the city. By the end of it, they’ll have created their own luxury prison island, with no-one to talk to, no-one to serve or entertain them, and nothing to do. Do not let this happen to Soho, Shoreditch or anywhere in London. I wish you every success with this campaign.

  3. London is being overdeveloped and there is no-one wanting to stop it who can. It is being robbed of its identity by people trying to make some money.
    It’s too much. Paris is beautiful – when you look at its skyline you can still see the Eiffel Tower from all over the city. I have lived in Paris and London and I know protecting the character of Paris has kept it wonderful and thriving with millions of people visiting and enjoying its culture – culture is the draw.
    London has become a place that people can no longer come and enjoy – almost but not quite – Soho, Charing Cross Road, Denmark Street, Fitzrovia, Bloomsbury – the heart of London being ripped apart and made to look like Milton Kenynes – please – stop it now – leave it as it is – the place that people enjoy coming to. You are giving permission for people to make a fast buck while people will soon no longer want to visit and stay for anything other than reasons of commerse.
    … And it, as the well-worn phrase goes, survived the Blitz – just.

    Richard – writer, actor, musician, singer-songwriter.
    Another point for the Arts – Despite being compared to such very divergent talents as Alec Guinness, Jack Nicholson and others by external directors at Drama School; because I suffer from depression I am incapable of managing myself in terms of career development- photos, c.v.’s – impossible for me – and thus have never had a significant audition, not even to carry a spear, let alone a break of any kind. & I left years ago. If you take away places like Soho that develop fringe in the arts and help others network, people like me will have less hope of breaking through the cliques of the British Arts and having a modest shot at practicing our art…
    Walking through Soho once – for a month – eased a period of depression. (It is an attracive place with an attractive atmosphere. On a sunny day, there’s nowhere like it.) Please don’t make it a place that would exaserbate the depression of people who aren’t even afflicted with the Black Dog.

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