Plans announced for Tottenham Court Rd development – and it doesn’t look good

Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 13.22.47We here at LTW are not against building for the future.

Cities like London and Manchester are always moving – like the head of Manchester once said ‘Manchester is never finished’ and the new build is part of future city drive that you need.

But sometimes there are parts of cities that need to be kept or at least incorporated into the future – like former footballer Gary Neville did in Manchester when he redesigned his new tower to make sure it didn’t knock down a much loved pub.

No such luck for Tin Pan Alley – the heartbeat of British music for decades full of cultural history and still important guitar shops that has been bullied and bulldozed to make way for this proposed bland scheme.

The rich have no respect for our culture and their naff take on our music and its backdrop is piped music in some chain coffee bar with too expensive flats on top cased in really unimaginative lumps of concrete. By all means lets keep building – cities should never stagnate and become museum pieces but why can’t we mix the old and the new?

Can’t these people ever listen to anyone else and share the space?

Campaign to save Tin Pan Alley here

 

 

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  1. The Slow Death of ‘Tin Pan Alley’ – London’s Music Street.

    Spin and subterfuge surround the so-called ‘legitimacy’ of old school Soho landlord-developer-freeholder Consolidated. One does indeed wonder who has actually bought into their disingenuous hyperbole, which is now being piped out daily through online Trade Papers and Architectural-cum-Design led PR?

    The answer is probably nobody. Their PR tweets meet with no retweeting and appear lost amid a plethora online vacuousness. Its seems that no one has paid a blind bit of notice. Yet this building site is probably the largest urban redevelopment in any Metropolis within our ‘former EU’. Amazingly this urban gentrification is still happening in spite of a shaky post Brexit.

    ‘£143 million’ they proudly boast to build a new station’s shopping mall exit that replaces demolished streets, which dated back to the Plague of London. Meanwhile, while the internationally famous guitar shops appeared to be open for business, Consolidated covertly demolished between 2/3rd’s and 4/5th’s of the rear of them. So the north side of London’s music centre Denmark Street known euphemistically as Britain’s ‘Tin Pan Alley’ is now just one room deep!

    It is claimed that Consolidated acquired Denmark St for a knock down price of just £12 million from the previous landlord-freeholder Frasers circa 1996. Our friends in the Estate Agent world have suggested that Denmark St and the former Denmark Place, the former Andrew Borde St and St Giles High Street area could be worth in the region of 1 Billion Pounds in terms of Real Estate ‘Asset Value’ to the freeholder Consolidated.

    So it appears they’ll be doing very nicely thank you.

    No wonder they are serving notice to almost all of messy guitar repairer-luthier workshops. So far the following guitar workshops have gone since 2014: Celine & the Dobro Centre, Philippe Dubreuille, Colin Burns, Angel Music and last week Tim Marten who has been working in the street since 1978.

    In the wake of these terminations Denmark Street’s guitar shop Macari’s moved out of 25 Denmark St some two weeks ago, moving all of their stock to their larger premises around the corner in Charing Cross Road (facing Old Compton Street).

    All of this has been undertaken with The London Borough of Camden’s blessings: albeit under the guidance of former Planners and Executives no longer resident within the Council.

    Thanks Camden! And thanks again for trying with your Section 106 Protections – even if they do appear to be about as useful and leaky as a chocolate teapot.

    The soon to be built eight storey box, called ‘The Now Building’ will face Centrepoint. It will feature a new ‘Blade Runner’ wannabe alternative to post millennial Internet technology via screens called ‘The Outernet’. This urban box resides above an 800 seater subterranean Conference Centre, masquerading as a part time music venue named ‘The Event Gallery’, which will go several levels down beneath Georgian Denmark Street’s north side and above the soon to open Crossrail 1 situated under the former Denmark Place.

    This great venture has been sold to all as ‘London’s Times Square’ – even though it isn’t, in fact, a ‘square’.

    The reality is that ‘The Now Building’ will indeed be dystopian paean to consumerism in times of an exceedingly weak pound created by a government that is very the polar opposite to prime minister Theresa May’s concept of “strong and stable” within a post Brexit isolationist UK .

    Well good luck with that one then.

    Meanwhile, Consolidated Developments reliably inform us that they are bringing the music back to Tin Pan Alley, ‘keeping it alive’. However, a broken tooth, partially closed and boarded-up Denmark St north side, with all its buildings above emptied of traders and creative blood, this reality provides visual evidence that the street as we knew it till 2014 is, in fact, all but gone above ground level on the north side. Expect similar on the south side anytime soon.

    Times are hard now. Yes! But these traders and music based businesses of creative diversity wanted to stay. Sadly, their leases were terminated via ‘break clauses’. These notices were served to numerous tenants in the wake of the financial prizes that the developer-landlord hopes to win in the wake of Crossrail 1, which will soon open amid the death of Denmark St as we knew it.

    “What’s coming to Tin Pan Alley?” I hear you cry!

    Well, despite The Save Denmark St Campaign’s obtaining Grade 2 Star Listing for Six and Seven Denmark St and saving the Ancient Forge of the Former 12 bar Club – a small equivalent acoustic venue is allegedly promised and provided for in new architects’ plans we fought and lobbied hard for at both Camden Council and Parliamentary level – only a few music shops are likely to survive.

    Nearly, all of the shops exist on six month rolling leases with four to eight week break clauses built in to leaseholder agreements, meaning terminations can still be served upon all of them at the drop of a hat.

    “Oh, but the street was dying, anyway!” I can hear some of you say.” Not so. The street was thriving. It boasted a recording studio, two music venues, a rehearsal studio (to the rear), music publishers, agents, managers, small labels, rock photographers, advertising agencies, pop promo companies, a drum school, guitar makers, guitar repairers, keyboard shops, bass stores, guitar shops, drum stores and more. But, most of all, it was a music mecca. A street for those of all ages. A street for those chasing their dreams. A heritage zone for those filled with hope in what was – until Consolidated came along – the greatest living, breathing street of music in the world!

    Expect ‘Music Hotels’, ‘Music Apartments’, ‘Music themed Restaurants & Bars’ a few surviving bespoke ‘Music Shops’ in the Disneyfication-cum-Carnabyfication of Tin Pan Alley post Crossrail 1.

    Denmark St as we knew it until very recently has been killed by the landlord-developer. The same can be said for the other side of Charing Cross Rd too. It too was killed off by similar developers in the wake of Crossrail 1.

    RIP the following who have either moved out or are gone for good:
    The Marquee, The London Astoria, The L. A. 2, The Metro Club, SIN – The Ballroom, Enterprises Rehearsal Studios, The Intrepid Fox, The 12 Bar Club, the soon to close Alley Cat venue, Denmark St Recording Studios, Helter Skelter Books, Rhodes Music, The Keyboard Store, Andy Cooper’s, Rockers, The Dobro Centre, Vintage & Rare, The Sax Shop, The Drum Store, The Noel Gay Organisation, The Tattoo Store, One Stop Music Spares, Celine’s Luthiers Business, Tim Marten’s, Philippe Dubreuille, Colin Burns and the many more whom we could name, who are not forgotten to the thousands who visited the street upon a daily basis.

    To the shops that are left we wish you well and hope that you too continue to remain in Tin Pan Alley-Denmark St in London WC2

    Henry Scott-Irvine
    Producer and Founder Chairman of Save Tin Pan Alley

  2. What can we, the mere public tax payer, do to help. Or is it inevitable that another area of our culture will be extinguished?
    I, a musician since 14 years old, want to get involved but fear it is too late?

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