Live events sector
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he plans to introduce the ‘agent of change’ principle into the next London Plan to protect London’s cultural heritage and vibrant night life from the actions of developers building residential homes near existing cultural venues. The move comes after more than 25,000 people signed a petition to save Mayfair’s historic Curzon cinema from being shut down over a soundproofing dispute.
Developers 38 Curzon Ltd, who are converting office space above the cinema into luxury flats, have complained of noise from films shown velow. Reports say the developers want the 82-year-old cinema to foot the £500,000 bill for soundproofing work. But the the Curzon said it cannot afford and that as the building is a listed building iut would “never obtain approval for as the auditorium and surrounding walls”
The deadlock has resulted in a court “action for forfeiture”, meaning the cinema faces surrendering its lease and vacating the building.
Khan told the London Evening Standard: “I intend to protect venues like the Curzon Mayfair by introducing an ‘Agent of Change’ rule into the next London Plan. 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.” He added “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.”
A 38 Curzon Ltd spokesperson said: “The discussions between Curzon, leaseholders throughout the building and the landlord have been ongoing for a year. There are a number of complex negotiations taking place as a result of the lease that Curzon has with the landlord, who is absolutely committed to protecting a cinema and the listed screen”. They added “We do need the operator, Curzon, to communicate with both the leaseholders and landlord. There are a number of outstanding complaints from a number of leaseholders, including existing residents on the third floor, and health and safety issues, and a remedy for volume and vibrations needs to be found” and “Up until now Curzon have simply refused to address the problems which are their responsibility. No changes to the fabric of the cinema have been suggested and no investment has been demanded. Indeed, we have no idea where the earlier reported figure of £500,000 has come from.”
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