Hello there, and yet another post by another guest poster. Apologies for the very long post but just couldn’t get it any shorter.
As many of you will no doubt have heard by now the former cinema and bingo hall has been bought by Merinbrand (whoever they are) on behalf of (we assume) the Redeemed Christian Church of God or RCCG for short. We believe that contracts have been exchanged but completion is not due to take place until the beginning of March. The chances of us stopping the sale are slim, but I do not think that should prevent us from trying.
We started a campaign this Monday to try and get more information and transparency over the sale of the building by Gala Bingo. Last week I was told that the information was confidential and that I would have to wait until the sale had gone through. I think it is safe to assume that they were a little surprised at how quickly we managed to gather the troops, and very soon after our photo in front of the cinema today we had the head of PR sending out emails absolving themselves of all responsibility and hanging the new (potential) owners out to dry.
This is thanks to people like Victor, a.k.a. Eusebiovic, who set up a Facebook page which has nearly 200 fans already and is growing by the second. Also thanks go to Copeywolf (James), Liliana of PROS,Melanie Rimmer of Camberwell Arts and last but not least Mark Dodds and Barbara Pattinson from the SE5 forum for all their help. I have created a website (www.CamberwellCommunityCinema.webs.com) for the campaign to keep the cinema for the community and I have no idea where all you people are coming from but the response has been (almost) unanimous against having RCCG move in.
I think this is a real chance for Camberwell to come together as a community. And I don’t just mean those who use the internet. I mean all those who loved the bingo and now have to go to Surrey Quays (because that’s convienient). I mean all those for whom Christianity is not their religion. I mean all the artists looking for a space. I mean something to stop Time Out banging out yet another edition about the “great” East End. I mean all those who want Camberwell to have a focal point we can be proud of.
RCCG will have to change the commercial use from D2 (Cinema, music and concert halls) to D1 (Places of worship and Church Halls). This is where we as a community come in. We cannot let this happen. There are so many reasons why this should not be allowed. So, write to your MP, write to your councillors. Tell the press, tell Boris. Shout it out. Email your friends. Join the facebook page. Tell your friends to join the facebook page. Write to famous Camberwellians. Make people notice. MAKE A FUSS!
To be fair I think most councillors are firmly behind us and John Friary has been helping already to ask questions. There is a Camberwell Community Council meeting next Wednesday 3rd March at 7pm at Southwark Town Hall. Please go. We need to let Southwark Council know that Camberwell matters. We need them to stop palming us off with disjointed plans which come to nothing. On top of that, there is an election coming up. That should concentrate the mind wonderfully!
We will be getting some posters to put around Camberwell. I will put them on the website for you to download and print off. Stick them on windows of shops. Talk to your neighbours.
MAKE A FUSS!
Camberwell deserves better.