Sunday 28 October 2007

Warehouse Proof of Evidence

My thanks to the Warehouse Theatre for sending me their proof of evidence against the proposed arena development.

They will be presenting this at the public inquiry into the compulsory purchase order this coming week.

As you can see form the extract below, Arrowcroft and Frogmore have had no meaningful dialogue with the Warehouse; despite their, and the council's claims, that they have now included a genuine proposal for a replacement theatre in their plans for the arena development.

How can you design a replacement Warehouse theatre if you have not spoken to the people who own and run the Warehouse?

1. In February 2004 we made our position in relation to both developers crystal clear on our web site. That statement was designed to ensure that everyone knew what our intention was:

"We seek a replacement for our current building, as we not only out-grew it some time ago, but it also does not comply with disability regulations nor does it have enough seats to continue to be commercially viable for the longer term.

We welcomed the offer by Stanhope/Schroders for a replacement theatre in their proposals. This had not been offered by the other potential developer. We believe that the provision of a new theatre for us on the Gateway site adds enormous value and diversity to this development.

Our responsibility is to ensure that we have a venue in Croydon to undertake our core activities - as a producing theatre for new writing and providing entertainment & education for the benefit of the Croydon community.

Accordingly, the company will continue to seek to have dialogue with developers, officers and members of Croydon Council, the Mayor of London, government ministers etc. to pursue our goal for a new theatre and our future in the development."

2. We continue to pursue the above policy and have made strenuous efforts to do so.
We have had several 'off the record' meetings with Arrowcroft since 2004 which have
led nowhere. In 2007 we also wrote to their new funding partner 'Frogmore' who referred us back to Arrowcroft.

3. The Warehouse Theatre therefore proceeded with our objections to the planning application and the CPO because a new theatre has not been included in Arrowcroft's

4. It was only on 5th June 2007 that we received a letter from Arrowcroft identifying
how a replacement theatre 'could' be included in their scheme and how this would be
achieved through a section 106 agreement. A plan (PL050) was included showing its proposed location. However, we then understood that this plan does not form part of
the planning application. We have had no meaningful dialogue with either the acquiring authority or Arrowcroft about this proposal either before, or indeed

5. The Theatre is of the view that this is not a viable way forward. A comprehensive
plan has to be in place to achieve the continuity of our business from our current site to a new building if our objections are to be removed. The Arrowcroft proposal does not achieve this.

The document goes on to note that the scheme "is we understand under financial stress without an end funder in place".

In other words, do Arrowcroft actually have the money to follow through on their plans for an arena development?

The complete Proof of Evidence document can be downloaded via this link: Warehouse Proof of Evidence.

Sign the petition against the arena via this link on the Number 10 website: Petition

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