WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Happy campers: Residents rejoice as plans to erect stage tent are withdrawn

Many objected to the borough’s green spaces being used as “cash cows”

26 November, 2016 — By Alina Polianskaya

Victoria Embankment Gardens, where the proposed tent was due to be erected. PHOTO: ALEXRK2

RESIDENTS are celebrating the news that plans for a 650-seater ­theatre tent to take over a much-loved garden in the heart of the West End have been withdrawn.

The events company Underbelly had applied to erect a 1920s-style “Spiegeltent” in Victoria Embankment Gardens, off Villiers Street, to stage shows for nine months. But residents and businesses, who valued the small amount of open green space they had, were afraid they would lose the use of the park.

Many objected to the borough’s green spaces being used as “cash cows”.

Resident David Codd said: “The decision by Underbelly to withdraw this application has been met with great relief by all who campaigned against it. Open spaces like Victoria Embankment Gardens are held on trust for the public and should be kept for the public benefit and the precious purposes they were designed to serve. They should not be viewed as commercial cash cows to be milked at every opportunity. We sincerely hope that Westminster Council is open to discussing future uses of the gardens with all stakeholders.”

This week, Underbelly, which is also responsible for the annual comedy festival staged inside a giant, upside-down purple cow on the Southbank, pulled its plans for the gardens. They had intended to stage Five Guys Named Moe at the tent.

An Underbelly spoke­sman said: “Underbelly has withdrawn its application for Victoria Embankment Gardens. We are exploring other possible locations in London for this forthcoming project.”

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