Published: 30 August, 2013
• I WONDER whether something has dawned on people who are puzzled about the fortunes of the underground theatre behind Islington Green, many residents having been involved in encouraging its excavation in the 90s.
There were 10 years of a Lib Dem council which never encouraged its further development, starting before the downturn in the economy.
Following a wide-ranging questionnaire to determine people’s wishes for the site, a theatre to replace the old Collins Music Hall appeared top of the list of priorities. It was the duty of my committee to attempt to pursue those wishes.
I was recently told by a councillor that there has been some attempt to get the flats on the site sold off. The flats’ ownership has changed hands several times but they have always been let.
It was part of the original agreement that the flats were not to be sold until the theatre opened and I am glad to say the present council is determined to stick to that.
The hold-up is puzzling and reasons given don’t seem convincing.
There is a very attractive public space behind the hoardings I know people are tired of looking at, and there was to be a fresh food market with some fixed elements.
The structure of the theatre is there and all it requires is fitting out with seats, which we were told could only be taken through this space, the fixed stalls being “in the way”. But there are other stairs to reach the theatre space which I and community representatives used when on a visit to the site.
We have also been told that there are “columns” in the way of some of the seats, but surely that would have been noticed on the original plans?
There is in addition a huge amount of extra space, more than is available in the whole of Islington, the idea being that it could be used for events and let for weddings. This would involve great employment opportunities.
It is beyond credibility that so much money and effort should have been expended, all to amount to stalemate.
AVIS SALTSMAN BALDRY
Gerrard Road, N1