Independent Tooting music venue under threat of closure in demolition application

An independent Tooting music venue could face closure if a planning application to knock down the building is approved.

The Sound Lounge, a not-for-profit art centre which opened in January 2017, is one of several organisations between 180-214 Upper Tooting Road which property developer Barrowfen Properties Limited applied to Wandsworth Council to demolish.

The application, registered last August, includes plans to retain and restore the façade of the RACS building, one of the site’s properties, and develop four shops, a community use unit, a hotel, housing and a car park on the area.

Sound Lounge’s managing director, Keiron Marshall, said: “Myself and my wife Hannah were at a festival and someone tweeted us saying: ‘Will this planning application affect the Sound Lounge?’

“We looked it up and we were shocked because nothing was said to us.”

Wandsworth Council planning officer Adam Greenhalgh said the application is unlikely to be approved at this stage because of issues the developer has not yet addressed.

He said: “They [Barrowfen] have previously put in a pre-application enquiry and we’ve given feedback on that. They haven’t addressed all the matters that they would ned to do so to get a positive recommendation from us.”

A petition to appeal Wandsworth Council chief executive Paul Martin has been launched on by Sound Lounge co-founder Hannah White and has gained 4,695 signatures.

Graham Lawrence, of South Croydon, commented on the petition, saying: “Venues like this need to be supported, more and more live music venues are closing in London and if it helps people off the streets into the arts it has to be a good thing.”

The venue opened on Upper Tooting Road following its crowd funding success that raised £12,000.

It has since gone to host 99 live music shows showcasing 240 bands and artists, 28 free family workshops, 22 charity events, four art exhibitions.

The agent managing Barrowfen’s planning application declined to comment.

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