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Passing Clouds: 364 people object to landlord’s bid for new venue at old Dalston arts hub

PUBLISHED: 17:32 04 December 2017

Passing Clouds supporters march from Hoxton Square to the venue in Richmond Road last year. Picture: Polly Hancock

Passing Clouds supporters march from Hoxton Square to the venue in Richmond Road last year. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Hundreds of people have objected to plans for a new music venue at Passing Clouds after bosses of the old arts hub issued a call to arms.

Passing Clouds, before and after being repossessed. (Picture: www.samr.co). Passing Clouds, before and after being repossessed. (Picture: www.samr.co).

The proposals – which include an extra storey on the roof – were submitted at the end of July by Landcom North London, which is linked to Landhold Developments, the firm that bought the building in 2014 and evicted the arts group last year.

But ahead of a town hall planning meeting next week, 364 letters of objection have been sent to Hackney Council, largely from people calling for Passing Clouds to return.

Planning papers reveal the Dalston venue would stay as a “hub for music activities for the public”, as required by the Asset of Community Value (ACV) status it was granted by the council last year.

The report reads: “The venue would host live music most nights downstairs as well as cultural events throughout the week with a focus daytimes on community led projects.

Passing Clouds protesters on the march last year. Picture: Polly Hancock Passing Clouds protesters on the march last year. Picture: Polly Hancock

“During the day there is the potential to record and film live performances for use on an internet channel in the live space.”

The venue has been closed since Passing Clouds went out fighting in summer 2016. Bailiffs had been sent in to change the locks overnight in June but hundreds of members of the arts community descended onto Richmond Road to take it back.

They were finally evicted in the autumn following huge protest marches – and the chances of them moving back in look remote if plans are granted.

“They want a 400 per cent rent increase,” Passing Clouds’ former boss Eleanor Wilson said. “They may be able to get it from someone else but there is no way it would be able to stay a community asset. The rent needs to be affordable for the community.”

Landhold Developments said it had repeatedly held meetings with Passing Clouds and invited them to submit a proposal to rent the building again.

A spokeswoman added: “In the two years we have owned the property we have not received a business proposal or any financial information to evidence their ability to rent the premises.

“It is our intention to obtain planning permission for the previous use and then seek to offer the premises on a new full repairing and insuring lease [where the tenant is responsible for repair and maintenance] to music and leisure operators.”

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