Rise Up Community – 12 Bar & the Shock Doctrine by Dan Ashman
Rise Up Community – 12 Bar & the Shock doctrine by Dan Ashman.
Consolidated Development, though it sounds like it, is not the latest boy band to come out of the X-factor karaoke conveyor belt. Though I’m sure there are parallels between the ethos and mind set of the firm and the entertainment show. Recently one of their henchman asked me “Are you against development?” to which I wish I had replied, “what you are doing is not development, it is destroying a creative hub and community.”
Consolidated Development formed in the eighties and have been beneficiaries of deregulation in 1986. They have been buying up Denmark Street since 1993, with a claimed portfolio of 300 million quid’s worth of property. From this portfolio, they collect 12 million quid a year in rent. They can also borrow 75 million or 25 percent of their properties’ worth. Surely they have enough.
Having combed through Consolidated Development’s business plan, papers marked “private” and “confidential” should give even more confidence to the Save Tin Pan Alley, Denmark Street & Soho campaigns. Two words for you MISSION CREEP.
Another two words for you, SHOCK DOCTRINE. Like true vulture capitalists they are beneficiaries of the 2008 crash. They are looking to expand the banksters’ property portfolio through the misfortune of others. This expansion has been caused by the finance sector’s own morally bankrupt criminal behavior, which no one in the last seven years has been held to account for. Like many known crimes of the one percent. Not one. Despite the increase in homelessness, fuel poverty related deaths, evictions, food banks, unlivable wages, unaffordable rents etc, these greed stricken people that form the practices that bring about such conditionality really don’t care about the environment, cultures and indeed the lives they destroy. What makes it worse is that the law protects them. Indeed they are prepared to use the tools of the law to obstruct the course of justice and break their own protocols, as they have done with the eviction of the 12 Bar.
The independent businesses along Denmark Street should be concerned. Already the rehearsal studios are getting destroyed. Consolidated Development state in their business plan (in their attempt to appeal to international investors looking for easy profits on their gambling), I quote: “it’s asset management arm has steadily increased annual rental revenue to give excellent cash on cash returns.”
Like with the fracking “dash for gas” push and the resulting harm that will visit the existing communities, Tin Pan Alley, a functioning musical world heritage site’s fate will be decided by a detached shareholders’ game of greed. It is not going to be decided by the democratic mandate of the communities affected but by people with no link, love, interest or understanding of the contribution that Denmark Street gives to the community and the Music Industry, Britain’s third largest export.
Camden council’s stipulate that the front of the shops along Denmark Street have to retain their likeness, though if somehow the structural integrity of said buildings were to have been compromised by other activities (like Crossrails Tottenham Court Road shenanigans), perhaps Consolidated Development would feel legitimate in carrying through with their original plan of building a Times Square in London with it’s Luxury Rock and Roll flats in the areas where Jimmy Hendrix once played.
Independent businesses on Giles High Street have already been pushed out. With the promise of increased rents to maximise investors’ returns, for how long can artists retain their independence and cultural integrity as keepers of folklore, historical storytellers and as independent business communities? Consolidated Development’s vision is to control a “Quasi Monopoly” – to rebrand London as a wonder city in the world while conveniently ignoring the fact that it already was – thanks to the artists that create and express within it, in sacred places like the 12 Bar and Denmark Street, which will sadly be shut once more by monetarily incentivised servants of the state; the protectors of corporate greed and overseers of the destruction of our communities.
Save Soho Campaign. http://savesoho.com/