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intimate theatre palmers greenA campaign to register the Intimate Theatre as an Asset of Community Value has been successful.  Enfield Council accepted the arguments set out in the application by the Save the Intimate Theatre Group, comprising St Monica's Players and a further five local amateur dramatic groups who put on productions at the Intimate.  The building's owners, St Monica's parish, submitted an objection to the application - they want to demolish the theatre and replace it with a new parish centre and block of flats.

The panel which considered the application found that:

"This asset is an integral part of the wider parish & community. Historically it is also renowned Borough wide. It provides a platform for various community groups to convene and engage whether it be through the medium of arts and culture. The nominator has clearly demonstrated a programme of upcoming events which signals inclusivity and regular use."

"The nominator highlighted the current users desire to see continuity of this facility, indeed they also highlighted the fact that former clubs/societies made a commitment to return if said asset had major investment. It is also apparent via a recent online petition that there is demonstrable support for this nomination"

The panel also felt that "the asset be made fit for purpose practically and within reasonable resource requirements and within timescales".

The online petition referred to above has now been signed by more than 3800 people.

What are Assets of Community Value?

Assets of Community Value were introduced by the Localism Act 2011.  They are intended to afford a degree of protection to amenities that play a useful community role, making it necessary for owners to follow certain procedures before they are allowed to demolish or change the use of the amenity.  To quote from the My Community website:

"In neighbourhoods across the country there are buildings and amenities that are integral to the communities that use them. This could be a village shop, a pub, a community centre or a library for example. Many provide a base from which to deliver public services to the local community. The closure or sale of such buildings and amenities can create lasting damage in communities and threaten the provision of services.

"Assets of Community Value and the Community Right to Bid offers greater opportunity for communities to keep such buildings in public use and ensure they remain a social hub for the community."

The Fox pub in Palmers Green was registered as an Asset of Community Value in 2015, largely on the basis that its function room played an important community role.  Consequently, when the Fox reopens after refurbishment in somewhat smaller form it will incorporate a function room - something that is unlikely to have been the case without the ACV status.

In addition to the Fox and the Intimate, there are three more ACVs in the borough:  the Wonder pub in Enfield, Vicars Moor Tennis Club in Winchmore Hill and Tottenham Park Cemetery in Edmonton.

Links

Previous reporting and comments about the campaign to save the Intimate Theatre

Reporting about the campaign on the St Monica's Players website

Alternative proposals put forward by St Monica's Players

"Save the Intimate Theatre" online petition

Interview with Warren McWilliams of St Monica's Players on BBC London

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David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #4286 12 Dec 2018 09:12
NIMBYs up to their childish games again. Pathetic that the owners of property have less rights than minority interest groups.
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #4287 12 Dec 2018 13:30

David Eden wrote: NIMBYs up to their childish games again. Pathetic that the owners of property have less rights than minority interest groups.


Three comments:

1. It is by no means clear that ACV status would prevent the church from demolishing the Intimate. So your point about "less rights" is almost certainly an exaggeration, if not simply incorrect.

2. Ownership is an important consideration, of course, but is not paramount. It's a mark of a civilised society that wider interests than money and ownership are taken into account.

3. Please do not insult people who you disagree with by using terms like "pathetic" and "childish". This is a civilised forum, not Facebook or Twitter. It's fine to criticise people's views and arguments, but not their character - and those terms imply criticism of the character of people who are campaigning against demolition.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #4288 12 Dec 2018 13:32
Excellent news, and if Palmers Green is to be a “cultural hub” within the borough (and beyond) leveraging all the Town Centre trends now falling from the draft London Plan into the Draft Local Plan, what a great established asset to have book-ending the northern end with all the opportunities it brings.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #4290 12 Dec 2018 15:46
There's nothing civilised about a small handful of people obstructing the needs of both the private owners of property and the broader community as a whole. Otherwise we're no better than the French yellow jackets - what's the point of private property rights if they can be ridden rough-shod over?!

What ACV will do, as we have seen from the Fox, is simply add a few years and 10s, maybe 100s, of thousands of pounds to the cost of delivering the development regardless.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #4355 23 Jan 2019 12:44


Yesterday's (22 January 2019) Standard has a large article highlighting that the Intimate Theatre has been put on the "at risk" register by the Theatres Trust. Outlining how it was a full time theatre from 1935 - 1969, hosting the likes of David Attenborough and Roger Moore, a church spokesman is quoted as saying, "always been owned by St Monicas church and has always been used primarily as a function space for parish events" before going on to add that the building needed to be demolished to make way for a new parish centre.

The trust seems to have a record of some success in saving these cultural venues, with up to half of those listed now operating as live performance venues and quoting a recent move by nearby Walthamstow council to save a 1000 seater in that borough by working with a west end theatre.

See also...

  • 03 July 2019

Planning application submitted for demolition of the Intimate Theatre

A planning application has been submitted for the demolition of St Monica's Hall (the Intimate Theatre) and its replacement by a new-build parish centre for St Monica's church and a block of six apartments. The campaign to save the theatre is appealing to supporters to submit objections to the application. Read more

  • 20 February 2019

Intimate Theatre: Churches launch counter-campaign

Catholic churches belonging to the Enfield Deanery are asking parishioners to write to MPs and councillors complaining about Enfield Council's decision to register St Monica's Large Hall/Intimate Theatre as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). The reaction of the Save the Intimate Theatre campaign has been to express hope that the letters to elected representatives might provide a 'longed for opportunity' for a meeting to take place with all interested parties present. Read more

  • 23 January 2019

SMP say Goodbye to the Intimate - or is it just Au Revoir?

On Sunday afternoon the curtain came down on Snow White and, if its owners have their way, also on the Intimate Theatre. Fittingly, the theatrical company putting on the final show at the Intimate was St Monica's Players, named after St Monica's church, which owns the property, and the group which is most associated with the campaign to prevent demolition of this historic Palmers Green landmark. Read more