Image Credit: Luke Snell
Cultural spaces and developers continue to clash in York as a project puts the future of another top venue under threat. The publishing of a planning permission request next door to the York hotspot has resulted in The Crescent Community Venue being plunged into yet another round of speculation in regards to its future. In a statement by the venue last Thursday, it launched an appeal to fight the current development plan, which aims to turn the neighbouring nursery into a block of flats.
The family-owned organisation is anxious about its future in York as the plans would see their current commercial neighbours be replaced by residential ones. The Crescent claims this would cause “inevitable” sound complaints from any new developments. The venue has therefore formally objected to the proposal and has asked others to do the same. They are urging people to object to planning permission based not just on personal affinity to The Crescent, but on behalf of the general cultural scene in York which seems under threat by developers constantly.
The objection is based on three key grounds. The first cites the Local Plan which states that no new development can lead to the loss of either cultural spaces or nursery spaces. The second, that “the national policy framework calls for new developments to have appropriate mitigation from existing noise from nearby music venues.” The third argues that the plans are in contradiction of “York’s Purple Flag vision for a vibrant and positive night time economy."
This battle between cultural spaces and developers is certainly nothing new. In events most current students may not be aware of, York lost venue Willow in 2015 and The Duchess in 2016; both were not replaced by other cultural spaces but instead by luxury flats. Both Society and Fibbers are under a similar threat, as Society is scheduled to be replaced while the current news on Fibbers is that it may be demolished for luxury flats to be built in its place.
The Crescent however has no intention of selling up. In their statement they made clear “This is our life. We love what we do. Aside from formally objecting to the application through the proper channels, in a statement to Nouse The Crescent confirmed that students have an important role to play in the saving, preserving, and bettering of the music venues and other cultural institutions in York. A spokesperson for the venue said that “the more students engage, come to, and work with independent venues like ourselves, the harder it will be for developers to force us out.” Partnerships between YUSU and venues in York were a key part of current Activities Officer Ollie Martin’s manifesto and play a huge role in his plans going forward.
Ollie Martin told Nouse: “Students benefit from having a broad range of events on offer in their city, from the amazing range of bookings at The Crescent Community Venue and The Fulford Arms to independent student run club nights to the hundreds of open mic nights. If it’s something students benefit from, indirectly or not, YUSU should make it a priority to support and protect that.”