Following an outcry of protest from the local community and a petition led by the West End Labour Action Team, the much-loved Curzon Mayfair cinema has moved closer to staving off the threat of closure.
This week developers Vevil International and 38 Curzon Ltd presented proposals to Westminster Council seeking permission to install additional sound proofing to prevent noise from reaching recently refurbished luxury flats above the cinema.
This represents a radical departure from the approach taken by the developers last year, when they brought an action of forfeiture against the cinema. If the action had been successful, the cinema would have had to leave the premises. It appears however that this approach has been dropped in favour of compromise.
The U-turn follows pressure from the local community and the West End Labour Action Team who set up a petition, backed by more than 27,000 people, to save the cinema.
Launched by Pancho Lewis, the petition backed the Curzon cinema’s management team who had argued that the cinema is a unique community asset that had to be saved. Cinema-goers across the country also rallied behind the campaign to protect the historic venue.
Upon receiving the news, Pancho Lewis said:
“This is a great step forward in the campaign to save the Curzon Mayfair. It goes to show that by pulling together we can send a strong message and protect cultural venues in the West End, putting the needs of the community above those of luxury flat developers. The campaign doesn’t end here though. We need to remain vigilant and continue to work to protect this cinema and indeed all cultural venues in the West End. Too many places are under threat of closure. It is no exaggeration to say that arts and culture in the West End faces an unprecedented threat in today’s day and age. Curzon Soho is also under threat, and groups like Save Soho are doing a great job to raise the profile of the issue – we need to rally behind them.”
The campaign was covered in the Evening Standard: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/historic-mayfair-cinema-faces-closure-in-row-over-noise-from-films-in-flats-above-it-a3345416.html
The petition read: ” We the undersigned call on the Mayor of London and Westminster City Council to step in and save historic cinema Curzon Mayfair from closure.
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.
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.
Curzon Mayfair must be protected. We simply cannot afford to lose this much-loved, iconic venue.”