Monday, 6 February 2012

Edinburgh's underground scene set to be buried

There was more bad news for Edinburgh's city centre as today the Bongo Club announced they were to be evicted by Edinburgh University.
The loss of this unique venue follows fast on the heals of news that another well loved venue which is home to a wide range of homegrown clubs, is to close for 'refurbishment' at the end of this month. The loss of  Cabaret Voltaire, is seen by many as a betrayal by new owners G1 who claimed to be pursuing a "hands off " approach when they took over the lease last year.

A petition to try and save the Bongo Club has been set up already in the hope Edinburgh University Management can be persuaded to review their decision CLICK HERE
A Save Bongo Club Facebook page to show support and share ideas for action has also been set up.

The Bongo and OOTB's home at New St (now demolished)

This is not the first time Bongo have been forced out the city. In 2005 Out of the Blue were evicted from New St along with their club the Bongo. Local traders and small businesses, New Street Studios, the Sunday Market and numerous crafters and artists were evicted from the old bus depot (now demolished) and Canongate Venture. Fortunately the old Bongo Club found a new home close by within  Moray House but OOTB moved to Leith. Many other artists, creatives and independent businesses from New St area were forced to leave Edinburgh as affordable workspace in the city centre disappeared.
The Big Red Door (now closed)
We have seen the loss of many community facilities, arts organisations and venues across the city centre in recent years (The Big Red Door, Forest Cafe, Dumbiedykes IT Centre, Panmuir House, The Venue and The Roxy to name a few) as the council sells off valued land and assets to encourage speculative redevelopment schemes focused on increasing land values. Edinburgh University, who want to redevelop the Bongo club for offices, already have permission for a significant amount of redevelopment for student accommodation and facilities around the Moray House area.

In the desperate drive to create more 'events space', tourism accommodation, luxury flats class 'A' shops and offices in the city centre, the council are forgetting to provide for people whose presence create the 'living city centre' used in so much of their promotional material. Their hope is it will stimulate the local economy, but this kind of gentrification is known to create little economic benefit to the neighbourhood.

Its time for a change!
Although the Scottish Government have expressed encouragement and provided some financial support for communities to take over management of local assets and have a greater say in the running of their neighbourhoods, some local authorities have proved they are not willing to support (or even listen to) community initiatives!

As we approach the Local Government elections it's time to ask your councillor what they have done to support community initiatives or facilities in their area, and ask candidates what will they do differently.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

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