Friday, January 08, 2016

Venuewatch: The Owl Sanctuary

Grim news from Norwich, where the cracking venue The Owl Sanctuary is closing. To make way for some redevelopment that "improves" an area by making it substantially worse. The venue's Facebook page has all the detail:

I had a call just before Christmas saying that our building has been sold to a property developer without me ever being told it was happening or given any notice what so ever as should have happened as per my lease.

Its still not really sunk in but I'll try and summarise.

After 2 years of hard work from my team and myself to create what has become one of the most respected and talked about DIY venues in the country my passion and dream has been kicked in the teeth, all we ever set out to do was create a community venue with a solid ethos that had great beer and great music and didn't have to sell its soul to provide that, it seems this day and age that's just not possible.

To make matters worse the person who has purchased the building is Richard Pratt, who owns the furniture store next door. His plan was always to knock down the back of that store, Warings (the old workshops and last remaining parts of the original cattle market) and build a huge block of flats which will be designed for upper class parasites such as himself to lock themselves away from the rest off the local community.
For me this just doesn't compute, people so filled with greed that they are willing to do that to fellow humans. All for bits of paper that they already have far too much of anyway.

That said we will close our doors for the final time on Jan 31st after a solid week of shows. Due to this bullshit I am currently in a position where I have invested a crazy amount of time and money in a venue and now have no clue about my future prospects or security for my family, nor do my friends who work here and have done for 2 years since the day we got the keys and started painting by iPhone torch as they power wasn't back on. So all we ask is please support us as much as you can until our closing date to help limit the financial damage this arsehole will inflict on us not to mention the damage to the local music scene, grass-roots touring and even the Norwich Soup Movement who are based upstairs here at The Owl.
There's a fightback brewing in the comments on the post - suggesting the venue be listed as an asset of community value, granting it protection. Good luck, guys.

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