Friday, September 29, 2017

A flat no

The Save Womanby Street campaign scored another notable victory yesterday with the news that the planning application for flats that sparked it off has been withdrawn. No reason was given for the withdrawal, but the scale of the public and political opposition must have been a key factor. The pressure exerted by the campaign had already resulted in the Welsh Assembly government's adoption of the agent of change principle, as well as the possibility of the street being afforded protected status.

The victory was somewhat bittersweet for many of those involved in the campaign, though, coming on the day that it was announced BBC Radio Wales presenter Alan Thompson had died. While I can't comment on his show, having never listened, it's clear from the tributes - which were led by former colleague Rob Brydon - that he was a much-loved figure who, like the venues on Womanby Street, did an enormous amount to promote the Welsh music scene.

Yesterday was also a significant day as regards venues over in Oxford, as the final day to lodge formal objections against the proposals to turn the Cellar into a retail space. There has been a hugely encouraging groundswell of support from punters, musicians (some of significant stature), fellow venues and influential councillors, and I was only too happy to register an objection on behalf of myself and my two fellow founder members of Sounding Bored, given that between us we've both enjoyed watching and playing numerous gigs there over the years.

Meanwhile, the Music Venue Trust - who continue to do sterling and essential work in defence of the nation's gig spaces - have announced that Slaves are among its new patrons. I'm almost inclined to shelve my dislike of them - almost.

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