Three cheers!

The Woolwich Grand Theatre is Go!

Having had the planning meeting scheduled for the end of September and then moved to October, it was suddenly brought forward to earlier this evening.

And, earlier this evening,  the arts centre application was passed unanimously by Greenwich Council.

Thank you, Councillors and Planning Officers!

Hurray! Phew! Gosh! Eek! Now the fun really starts.

And something else I wanted to say…

You know how it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind?

Well, I want to change my mind about the council. At least a bit. Recently, I had been feeling  that big business was their major interest, and the people on the Woolwich omnibus were not too high on the agenda, but I was so impressed by their efficiency, pragmatism and good-spiritedness at the planning meeting tonight. There were several applications under consideration and each was dealt with quickly and directly. All questions raised were completely appropriate and, if answered satisfactorily, then the applications were passed with no further ado. I don’t know why, but I expected it to be a much more adversarial process with all sorts of shillyshallying and bluster. There wasn’t any of that. At all. And the councillors even looked quite pleased when we all gave their decision a large round of applause.

Three cheers! Hip hip! Hurrah! Huzzah!

Permission granted!

Permission granted!

The Woolwich Grand Team

The Woolwich Grand Team

Prole’s-eye view

So, a quick update on the Greenwich Ministry of Truth’s progress in shoving recent events in Woolwich down memory holes.

I was at The Woolwich Grand (frustratingly, we’re still not quite able to open as the planning hearing date which was scheduled for later on this month has now been pushed back to October…) yesterday and had a conversation with Mike, the independent filmmaker who had filmed the riots from his balcony. He’d ended up on Australian TV talking about the riots, while broadcasters closer to home displayed far less interest.

Mike and his colleagues at Jellyfielders had been there at the inception of the Woolwich Wall, the outlet for local feeling on the boarded-up, burnt-out Great Harry pub. People of all ages and backgrounds wrote on this wall, expressing feelings from rage to sorrow to hope. And no-one stole the pens that were put there for common use. And Danny Mercer gave a brilliant interview beside it. But, hey, guess what, while Peckham proudly preserves its Post-Its, the Woolwich Wall is whitewashed. Well, wiped out by battleship grey.

You’d think that after a display of societal breakdown, community feeling would be encouraged and celebrated by the powers that be. Out here it seems that Greenwich Council just want to pretend none of it happened – even the good bits. They even pulled out of attending a public meeting about how to move on after the riots, and just held a private one for local businesses.

Hey ho.

Anyway, even if the council is determined to turn a blind eye to efforts of locals to rally round and build something good, the residents of southeast London are, frankly, so used to being ignored that they’ll just get on and do what they’re going to do anyway.

Provided they get the necessary planning permission…

Fingers tightly crossed for The Grand.