Published: (Updated: )
Update on recent developments in May 2022
In the last few weeks we have seen interest in the theatre by a development company, and have now heard of its sale to an new freeholder. Here’s a summary of what we know about the situation so far…
Behind the scenes and under a cloak of confidentiality, the Friends had been delighted to learn of the plans of a theatre company to buy the freehold and turn the building back into a working theatre and community hub. Their ambitions, both short and long term, for the site appeared to be extremely exciting and they had the backing of various stakeholders such as Theatres Trust, Historic England and Lambeth Council. They had been in negotiations with the theatre’s owners for some months and we were told they had made what they described as a generous offer for the freehold.
However, we have now been informed that their offer was turned down, and that the freeholder has now sold the building to new owners. Unfortunately, as the freehold has been sold with a tenant in situ, the Asset of Community Value opportunity to bid doesn’t come into play.
After writing to the various parties involved, we quickly heard verbally from one of the new owners. They are a group of individuals who have purchased the freehold as a medium to long term investment. He’s already opened a conversation with the theatre company bidder and is willing to talk to the Friends too. This contrasts greatly with the lack of communications from the previous freeholder!
The theatre company bidders aren’t giving up. They’re still up for either purchasing the freehold from the new owners or negotiating a decent lease with them.
Be assured that the Friends will continue to follow developments closely, and do everything we can to preserve this precious heritage building and see it returned as a fully working arts, culture and community hub for South London. We continue to work with Lambeth, Theatres Trust and Historic England, GLA and others. We are always in need of more help with the campaign, and these are clearly uncertain times for us, so please join or support our hardworking team of volunteers. If you have communication, legal, campaigning or any other skills and experience that you think might help us, please email us.