Standing Room Only At The Southfields Cinema Public Meeting

Campaigners boosted by local MP Justine Greening

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Justine Greening MP encourages residents to attend public meeting

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It was standing room only as public hopes for a cinema in Southfields received a huge boost when over 400 attended a meeting of the Southfields Plaza campaign last Wednesday evening (November 30th) at St Barnabas church, Lavenham Road, to demonstrate their support. 

The Southfields Plaza group, chaired by local resident Rob Richman, have been campaigning to maintain a local cinema/theatre in the area, and brought local people up to date on their progress on a business plan and likely design and use for the space as a cinema and theatre space. The campaign was set up after the old Riley’s Snooker hall in Wimbledon Park Road was put up for sale in October last year.

The Plaza Group’s plans include a two screen cinema and to adapt the building to provide a café and restaurant, theatrical space, independent film production facilities and a creative arena for the local and wider community. Along with local Councillors, Local MP and recently-appointed Transport Minister, Justine Greening MP(pictured above), spoke with many local residents who attended and it is clear that the community is fully behind the concept of a cinema and theatre.

Justine said, ”The Southfield Plaza Steering Group has worked really hard on the business proposal and I think an independent cinema set up by residents would thrive in Southfields. I am really looking forward to working with residents as their plans develop and supporting the Southfield Plaza."  She also urged the meeting to write to both the local council and to her at so she could to take the issue up with the developers. 

The meeting sent a strong message to Wandsworth Council that the listed D2 (amenity and leisure) space the site has needs to be protected.  Two Southfields councillors, Terry Walsh and Guy Humphreys who is on the planning committee, came to the meeting to answer questions about people’s concerns. 

 “The residents of Southfields are embracing our campaign” said a delighted Richman afterwards, “With the keen support of our MP and councillors we have a fantastic chance to ensure this space is preserved in a meaningful like-for-like way in area and volume.  In turn we can then persuade the present owners that it is in their interest to embrace our business plan and offer of a pre-let so that we can create a first-class cultural amenity for Southfields and the surrounding areas.”

Indigo Planning, the agents developing the site for its new owners Gresham Pensions Trustees, did not attend the meeting.  A letter outlining their plans to develop the site, as a ground floor leisure space with up to 24 flats above, was read out. .

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December 6, 2011