Music Venue Petitions That Need You

Written by: Sophie Taylor

Everyone loves a petition! There were certainly a heck of a lot doing the rounds in light of Brexit. So what about our local causes? Unfortunately due to the property boom, rising rents and corporate takeovers, some of our favourite North London spots have desperately needed our help to keep going and fight the power.

If you don’t think your little signature can do much to help, have a look at the beautiful and ambient Union Chapel in Islington, which was facing closure last year. Islington Council were planning to build a six-storey housing development in the backyard of this Grade I listed beauty. Jeez Louise. The Union Chapel, who also run a homeless support project as a registered charity, had noise complaints and added to traffic congestion which didn’t exactly help their cause. 

North Four, North London magazine, Union Chapel Islington

The team at The Union Chapel started a petition in the hope of receiving 5000 signatures before an Islington Town Hall meeting to show the huge support they had from Islington residents and workers. Instead, the venue far outgrew the number needed and garnered significant backing from all corners of the city for the venue to remain open, as a result managing to save their backyard from the encroaching building works. 

More recently we’ve witnessed the ongoing Passing Clouds saga. The community music venue and arts centre twinkling away in the heart of Dalston’s multicultural epicentre is yet another victim of the London property boom. They have been facing an ongoing battle with property developers who want to turn the building into a restaurant chain, even hiring a private security firm to change the locks. The team at Passing Clouds managed to rally together and reclaim lawful possession of the building but needed the help of their online petition to prove irrevocably that the local community wanted them to stay.

Two weeks ago they were no longer under threat of imminent eviction and the landlord agreed to enter into private negotiations. However, the landlord has changed their mind again. On Tuesday 2nd August they were unexpectedly served with notice that eviction proceedings are being taken against them at Clerkenwell & Shoreditch County Court at 10am today, Friday 5th August.

We need YOU to come and join us outside the court to call for the judge to help protect our community and conserve London’s grassroots culture.
North Four, North London magazine, Passing Clouds

The court address is: Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Ct , The Gee Street Courthouse, 29-41 Gee Street, London, EC1V 3RE. Passing Clouds have a few requests to all those looking to come down and join in the protest:

Please dress colourfully and if you are a musician, bring instruments. We will be bringing press, photographers, megaphones and placards. Feel free to bring your own placards expressing your feelings about property developers ripping through the heart and soul of London and the UK.

The more sceptical of you might doubt whether your signature can have any significant effect on changing any course of events, but The Union Chapel case proves that even just by spending a couple of minutes signing a petition you can have a drastic effect on your local community. Let’s hope the same can be said for Passing Clouds.

Photos Mike Barry, Union Chapel and Passing Clouds

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