Sadiq Khan promises tough new rules to protect iconic venues

September 29, 2016 / Isla MacFarlane
Sadiq Khan promises tough new rules to protect iconic venues

An ‘Agent of Change’ rule would make developers responsible for ensuring their new developments don’t threaten the future of existing venues.

Sadiq Khan joined the battle to protect a historic cinema which is under threat from a development of luxury flats.

Curzon Mayfair, the first cinema to show foreign films in the UK, has been handed a £500,000 soundproofing bill by developer 38 Curzon Ltd. The developer is building luxury flats above the iconic 1930s cinema, and claims Curzon Mayfair is in breach of its lease.

Unable to foot the bill for altering the Grade II listed building, the 82-year-old cinema faces rolling up the red carpet for good.

“It is an absolute travesty that developers 38 Curzon Ltd have called on the Curzon to fork out £500,000 to soundproof luxury properties they are building above it,” said Panch Lewis, who launched an online petition to save the world famous venue.

“They know that the cinema doesn’t have the funds. They know that the venue is listed and would face an uphill struggle to get permission to change its interiors. This is a de facto attempt to close the Curzon through the backdoor.”

Westminster Council has said the developer should pay for the soundproofing, and Sadiq Khan has promised to get tough with developers who threaten existing venues with new rules.

“I intend to protect venues like the Curzon Mayfair by introducing an ‘Agent of Change’ rule into the next London Plan,” he said on a statement on Facebook. “Developers would be responsible for ensuring their new developments don’t threaten the future of existing venues.

“That would mean developers building flats near existing venues will need to ensure that residents are not unduly affected by sound from the venue, and that may include paying for soundproofing.

“I’m very pleased to hear that Westminster Council included this principle when the planning application was first submitted in 2013, and are taking the necessary steps to protect a cinema which makes a significant contribution to the character of the area and is a real cultural gem.”

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