To: Rt Hon John Whittingdale, Minister for Culture Media and Sport then to Rt Hon Greg Clark, Minister for Communities & Local Government

Save The Kensington Odeon from demolition

Save The Kensington Odeon from demolition

Please help save the Kensington Odeon.  Immediately order a public enquiry into the recent decision by Kensington and Chelsea planning committee to allow this beautiful 1920's Art Deco cinema in a conservation area, to be demolished and replaced with luxury flats and a tiny amount of social housing.

If a cinema re-opens on the site it would be a small box cinema buried underground with the associated fire and security risks.  Our cultural and community heritage is under threat.

Why is this important?

We risk losing a magnificent iconic community venue.  Kensington does not need any more empty luxury flats being bought up by foreign investors. Hear from the leaders of this campaign just how they feel about the imminent closure.

http://youtu.be/czyi8SvcHto

With the largest screen in London, a beautiful Art Deco exterior, stunning marble staircases (see end of video) and a mosaic floor in the foyer as the best cinema in London for premieres (already this year it has hosted Sir Ian McKellen in Mr Holmes and Sir Alan Rickman and Dame Kate Winslet in A Little Chaos), special events or just the best family night out! Sir Ian McKellen just interrupted his enjoyment of a Mahler prom at the Royal Albert Hall to sign this petition as he feels so strongly about it!

When we went to hand in the petition on Thursday 27th August at 4pm at DCMS, we were very disappointed that minister John Whittingdale was unable to meet us. So we plan to visit Greg Clark at DCLG next week once we have invited all the public figures who have been kind enough to sign our petition (and found which day suits them best), including man of the moment Benedict Cumberbatch and his parents, actor Timothy Cumberbatch & actress Wanda Ventham, those knights of the theatre & film Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf signed at the Royal Albert Hall during Mahler 6), Sir John Hurt (I first saw Alien at the Kensington Odeon), Sir Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard to you), two different Doctor Whos, Colin Baker & Sylvester McCoy, three members of the Star Wars cast, namely Darth Vader himself, Dave Prowse, Kenny Baker (R2D2) & Jeremy Bullock (Bobba Fett), not to mention the two greatest guitarists in the world, Jimmy Page of legendary 70s British rockers Led Zeppelin, http://pic.twitter.com/qiXF2fJesQ who wrote a letter to the council & posed for a selfie with campaigner & film director/composer Paul Wiffen outside the Odeon last weekend when he came down especially to sign the petition & astronomer http://pic.twitter.com/BPVKvUid1n Dr Brian May of Queen (who featured it on his Soapbox and Twitter feed) both of whom live close enough to walk to watch films at the Odeon, Brian's wife Anita Dobson of Eastenders' fame, supermodel Elle Macpherson (and supermum) who brings her kids to the Odeon regularly (as did the People's Princess Diana with Wills and Harry, of course), Jeremy Clarkson's big crush Kirsten Scott-Thomas, Narnia's White Queen Tilda Swinton, fashion designer Bella Freud and father and son combination James and Jack Fox and last but not least Richard "Four Weddings" Curtiss who gave a magnificent headline quote to the Evening Standard on hearing that it was to be demolished, "London will be a lot less fun without the Kensington Odeon!"

http://twitter.com/wiffen/status/635260713435574272/photo/1

Benedict Cumberbatch & his parents have been part of this campaign since 2011 as has the now MP for Kensington & Chelsea, former Deputy London Mayor, Victoria Borwick aka the Lady Borwick!

I shall return here to inform you who has accepted our invitation.

I am also inviting the Evening Standard (who have been marvellous) and their brand new TV channel London Live (who have interviewed me live on air and outside the Odeon), the Independent (also good), the BBC London news team (who have been absolutely appalling and didn't even mention the Kensington Odeon in a piece on old cinemas under threat on their website recently), the much better ITV London Tonight (who covered our Batmobile march from the Odeon to Kensington Town Hall) and the national press (who have been even worse than the BBC in covering this) to witness the press conference before we go in and the news when we come out (I shall be demanding the announcement of a public enquiry there and then as The Odeon is now screening its last film on August 31st!).

I'd like to invite all of you wonderful people who have signed this petition to join us next week outside DCLG in Mar too! Please sign now to Save The Kensington Odeon for all Londoners to enjoy for another 90years.

**This petition total includes 20,000 people who have signed a physical petition to 'Save the Odeon Kensington'**

How it will be delivered

The situation is ongoing and although the petition was handed in to John Whittindale at the Department of Culture Media & Sport on Aug 27th , it has also been submitted to Greg Clark at Ministry for Communities & Local Government.

MP Brandon Lewis, The Minister of State for Housing and Planning is now dealing with this case.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO SIGN THIS PETITION TO SAVE THE KENSINGTON ODEON

London, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Reasons for signing

  • Historic England need to be investigated, as they seem to be neglecting the protection of important heritage sites in the UK. If they see excess renovation work over the building's life, they will decline to support ACV's and do NOT do as they say they do, when it comes to FULLY exploring buildings earmarked for demolition. I fully support this campaign to save the Kensington from destruction. This neglectful behaviour should not be accepted.
  • My Music Teacher's wife was the PA to Oscar Deutsch, the founder of Odeon Cinemas. It was said in Birmingham that Odeon stood for 'Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation'. Fortunately the lovely Art Deco Odeon in Kingstanding Birmingham where I grew up is still standing although used as a Bingo Hall!
  • Another example of developers destroying the architectural and cultural heritage of London. The Kensington Tory Council is an absolute disgrace allowing this to happen especially the refusal of Councillor Tim Coleridge to let the Odeon be listed as a community asset

Updates

2015-09-16 19:40:19 +0100

I am not opposed to new development but it seems absurd to lose an original 1926 theatre which could be the most wonderful asset for London.

The Kensington is now opposite the new design museum (although this is hidden behind yet more new apartments) and this part of the High Street could easily be a new cultural quarter for west London with the Kensington used as a theatre, cinema, concert and event space ( the original auditorium seated 2000 + ) .

It is also opposite the entrance to Holland Park with its Opera and Sculpture Festivals. Breathing life back into The Kensington would breathe life back into Kensington High Street

2015-09-13 19:24:06 +0100

The developer, Minerva, have stated that they are about to undertake a ‘soft strip’ which will destroy evidence of the original interior that exists under the existing modern lowered ceiling and shop fittings. As a matter of the UTMOST URGENCY we need to ask that the extant planning permission is revoked and that the current planning permission is called in for an enquiry.

2015-08-18 01:23:09 +0100

Over the weekend we were gathering signatures both days and as a result are now over 1300 signatures and accelarating fast. On Saturday, we shot a video outlining the disgrace that is the entire planning nightmare at that end of High Street Kensington, featuring key members of the campaign Paul Wiffen, Caroline McLean & Elizabeth Jones explaining our viewpoints. You can watch it here w.youtube.com/watch?v=czyi8SvcHto On Sunday, Jimmy Page who has been a big supporter of the campaign stopped by to check how things were going and reaffirm his support. He took a picture with Paul (who went into Wayne's World "we're not worthy" mode) which will be uploaded next

2015-08-11 12:03:57 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2015-08-09 20:25:56 +0100

Fantastic response means that we are within sight of 4-digit supporters when people will start taking us seriously! Please keep signing and sharing!

2015-08-03 19:37:15 +0100

500 signatures reached

2015-08-02 18:25:07 +0100

Lovely sunny afternoon outside the Odeon giving out leaflets and talking to people about the redevelopment. Thanks to James Hyde for stopping and helping us, Paul Atherton for upgrading our IT capacity with his tablet and the guys at Costa Coffee for the table, chairs and coffee to keep us going. https://www.facebook.com/paul.wiffen/posts/10155977618135122:3

2015-08-02 11:17:42 +0100

You are all stars. Over a hundred now and accelerating. Keep sharing and tweeting, we'll soon be in the thousands!!!

2015-08-02 10:11:08 +0100

100 signatures reached

2015-08-02 09:14:10 +0100

Thanks to all those we spoke to last night on their way into the Odeon for their Saturday night cinematic fix, thanks for your words of support and encouragement. And even more thanks to those of you who signed when you got home or when you woke up this morning, we have almost reached our first target as a result (dont forget, after you have Signed, please Share & Retweet so all your friends and followers get the chance to sign as well!). After 3 hours leafleting, the boys watched Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation taking this picture of the magnificent marble staircase as they ascended to London's largest screen https://www.facebook.com/paul.wiffen/posts/10155977618135122:0 while the more sensitive of us watched Amy! We will be there every Sat night for the whole of August to make as many people who visit the cinema aware of the imminent danger of demolition and the only remaining thing they can do to stop it. Keep signing and sharing!

2015-08-01 12:51:19 +0100

50 signatures reached

2015-07-31 14:16:02 +0100

25 signatures reached

2015-07-31 09:17:34 +0100

10 signatures reached