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Björn Ulvaeus: don't put your Abba-themed party on land intended for social housing

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Waterloo residents oppose plans for an Abba-themed restaurant party venue  Mamma Mia -The Party! (MMTP) to be constructed on land that has always been earmarked for social housing in a highly residential area. The impact will be catastrophic with 500 party revellers flocking every day/night (twice at weekends!) to an area that is already overly congested with tourists and vehicles.

Landowners Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB*) have an obligation to provide social housing on this site but this obligation runs out in 2025 and after that, the land would be lost to the community forever, if MMTP is still going by then.

What's wrong with this proposal?

  • The lease for this proposed 'temporary' pop-up theatre was  originally for 10 years! Now reduced to 5 years with an intent for 10 years - who are they trying to kid?
  • The venue/site is right next door to hundreds of people's homes
  • Crowds of 500-1000 people would bring anti-social behaviour from 6pm-11.30pm/midnight daily, e.g. noise, litter, public urination, intrusion into people's space/gardens
  • There would be an increase of vehicles to transport visitors and for deliveries, with no extra parking facilities in the vicinity
  • This would increase pollution not only in terms of air quality but also noise and light pollution from the venue itself
  • There has been minimal local consultation and no public consultation yet the planning application has already been submitted giving very little time to voice concerns

One of London's biggest crises is the lack of 'affordable'/social housing. CSCB has a duty to provide this and could easily do so with temporary pop-up housing as evidenced by the project in Lewisham

And Abba's Bjorn Ulvaeus and team could easily find another venue for their riotous new party attraction that would draw unwanted drunken revellers to highly residential parts of Waterloo. MMTP in Stockholm is set in an entertainment resort so come on Abba - please don't sell the people of Waterloo down the river! Help us to find a solution that works for all.

 *Background: CSCB acquired the site cheaply along with several others in 1985 after a ten-year campaign by the local community to get affordable housing and facilities including workspaces, a community centre, shops and a park. They were sold the sites on a subsidised discount by the Greater London Council on the basis that they would swiftly develop a community-backed scheme approved in 1983.

CSCB haven’t built any affordable housing for 15 years, and earlier this year, privately stated that they don’t intend to build any more. They claim that they intend to ‘move forward’ on the site as an extension to the Neighbourhood Centre. But this is already the biggest community centre in London given the modest number (220) of households served by it! Mostly it is vacant or taken up with commercial events, not community activities. The board of CSCB is non-elected. Residents have a reviewable 5 year lease only, with no say in the running of CSCB.

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