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(en) Freedom 6324 Dec. 14, 2002 - God beats culture

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 18 Jan 2003 03:23:56 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

In November 2000 the megalomaniac leader of Lewisham
Borough Council, self-styled mayor Dave Sullivan, set up the
Lewisham Culture and Urban Development Commission. Its brief
was to make Lewisham a cultural centre, based on low-level
gentrification in the north of the borough. This was linked with a
move by the Laban Centre for dance, and was intended to build
on the reputation of Goldsmiths College for contemporary arts.
Lots of councillors got to visit Barcelona, and a 150-page report
was produced.
But two years later Sullivan has gone, ousted by ordinary Labour
Party members fed up with his ego; gentrification has pushed
many artists, as well as others, out of the north of the borough;
and Lewisham now finds itself the only London borough without a
cinema. The Catford ABC was always a bit of a fleapit, but at
least it was there for those who couldn't afford the West End
prices for local entertainment offered in neighbouring Greenwich.
It couldn't compete with the multiplexes and closed earlier this
year, its owners looking to sell rather than invest and come up
with more innovative programming.
You'd think this was bad enough, but the building has been
bought by the Universal Church of the United Kingdom of God,
who want to turn it into a conference centre and church. This is
the same outfit that recommended Victoria Climbie for exorcism,
some time before its members abused and murdered her. The
borough council has replied to representations from Lewisham
Humanist Group, saying that the decision will be taken by
planning officers. Local anarchists are considering a campaign of
direct action if planning permission is granted to this dubious
Martin H.

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