Thursday, January 25, 2007

Venuewatch: No men in Hammersmith Palais

The celebrated Hammersmith Palais (well, celebrated by the Clash, anyway) is to be sold to property developers, as the local council have decided that its days as a venue are over.

The police have been complaining about the trouble at the Palais for years - which is a bit like a cleaner complaining about dust in a house, when you think about it, and the council have reassured themselves that allowing somewhere to be bulldozed despite its ninety-odd years of history isn't a problem:

Councillor Lucy Ivimy, the council's planning committee chairman, said: "Having given permission to demolish the Palais in 2001, the current planning committee had no justifiable grounds for refusing permission on this occasion.

"English Heritage has inspected the site and has confirmed that there is insufficient architectural merit in the building to justify listing it.

"Sadly none of the original 1930s interior features remain and in recent years residents have complained more and more about antisocial behaviour at the venue," she said.

She added: "We recognise that some people will have fond memories of the golden era at The Hammersmith Palais and it is true to say it played a huge part in west London's music scene. Sadly the golden era for the Palais is long gone."

It's true that there is little to be said in favour of the building as a piece of architecture, but there's more of historical value to a building than merely the structure. And for a council to just shrug and say "it's full of anti-social behaviour" is something of a dereliction of duty.

Still, let's not stand in the way of knocking down buildings and putting ugly little flats on them, eh? If the criteria is "it's glory days are over", there's whole swathes of Hammersmith that should go. They could start with the council chambers.