Dear Passing Clouds Community,
As you may have already heard there have been some dramatic developments in the ongoing battle for Passing Clouds’ survival. Only a couple of weeks ago, following a successful meeting with our landlords Landhold Developments and their solicitors, we were formally offered in writing a new 15 year lease. There had been a substantial 320% rent increase required but, as we were in negotiations, we were asked to work on a business plan and come back with our thoughts so we could enter into the the next stage.
However, just 5 days after receiving the lease offer we found our building plastered in eviction proceedings and were duly taken to court. We were given an adjournment of only 4 working days in which to seek specialist legal advice. At the second court date we argued that we hadn’t had enough time to prepare our case but the judge claimed that we had no case at all and ordered possession forthwith. By law, District Judge Manners should have recused herself (stepped down from proceedings) as she had been the judge who ruled against us in an identical situation 5 years previously with our previous landlady. In that case she had also said we had no legal defence and refused an adjournment and possession forthwith. We subsequently proved her wrong by putting in a appeal, demonstrated that we did in fact have a very strong case and won the lease back. In court we told Judge Manners that she was biased and should not be sitting on the case, to which she responded “Yes, I am biased”. She still refused to step down.
We therefore are certain that we have a very strong case for appeal in the High Court, especially since we had just been offered a lease just a few days before. In what we believe is a deliberate attempt to prevent us from going to the High Court to obtain a stay of execution on the possession order, Landhold and their solicitors Philip Ross & Co. rushed through a possession in just one working day, forcibly breaking into Passing Clouds at 4am on Tuesday 15th August with a team of more than 40 bailiffs and a specialist climbing team.
Sadly County Enforcement Group are now in full time occupation of the building and our windows and doors are boarded up with metal hoardings. We do not believe that they had obtained the necessary legal paperwork to enforce the eviction and therefore it is once again unlawful. As a result, we are now starting a High Court action against Landcom North London Ltd, Garry Simpson (director of Landhold Developments), Philip Ross Solicitors, and County Enforcement Group for breach of contract, fraud, conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to cause economic loss.
Further to this we are going to be making a claim for damages to cover the cost of purchasing a suitable venue that we have found in the local area at a price tag of £20m. We have spent 6 years looking for numerous venues in London to which to relocate our business without success and we therefore see this as the only viable circumstance in which Passing Clouds can continue without it’s present building. In addition we will be suing for costs associated with damage to our business, to our reputation, to our brand and to the lives of all the staff, musicians, promoters, and the local community who have suffered financial loss, emotional trauma and personal duress as a result of this malicious and unlawful action.
We have endured a 9-month litany of deceit, broken promises and fraudulent offers made by Landhold in what we can only assume was a deliberate and thoroughly underhand attempt to double-cross us and disable our ability to counteract this unscrupulous behaviour from nothing less than rogue and unlawful property developers. Therefore, with the support of a large number of concerned community groups and campaign organisations, dignitaries and national media, on the 10th September 2016 Passing Clouds is organising the March For London’s Dead Culture in the Dalston area to raise further awareness of the devastating plight that Passing Clouds has suffered, and in solidarity with other groups who have suffered at the hands of Landcom North London (Landhold Developments), or other underhand development companies in our community. More details will be forthcoming and we strongly urge everyone who loves Passing Clouds, or has been affected by the onslaught of the malevolent behemoth of rogue property developers, to be involved in this important and historic occasion.
Following the March we will be making formal representations to the new mayor of Hackney (who will be sworn in a few days after), calling for a public consultation on the future of Passing Clouds’ building, and for the mayors of London and Hackney to draw up a watchlist of rogue property developers.
In the meantime if you would like to ask any further questions regarding this matter, or voice your concerns about what has happened to us, please contact one or all of the following:
Landhold Developments - email@example.com/020 8446 6700
MP Meg Hillier - firstname.lastname@example.org/@Meg_HillierMP
Mayor Sadiq Khan who is publicly campaigning to protect music scene - email@example.com/@SadiqKhan
With your continued help and support this is not the end, this is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of PC and the wider community that it represents. We have a full-time campaign office upstairs at The Hagerstown pub who have been amazingly supportive and accommodating. If you would like to come down, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much love and eternal blessings xxx