Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive of Cadogan made a spirited defence of the company's consultation with locals, but it seems to have cut no ice with this reader who has written to the Dame, as below.....
It's a punchy riposte....your turn, Mr Seaborn. Is Point 1 correct?
....As you might imagine some of the points Hugh Seaborn makes don’t really tell the full picture. Here are some key points that we feel Mr Seaborn has missed:
1. During the consultation only 9% of respondents to Cadogan’s public consultation selected a boutique cinema as their first choice and yet this has been the only cinema option included for comment.
2. During this process the Cadogan Estate did not consult with Curzon Chelsea, despite being a leaseholder within the scheme, until Curzon forced the point themselves.
3. The Cadogan Estate firstly claimed that to devote additional floor space within the redevelopment to cinema use would result in the loss of more profitable retail floor space.
4. Recently Cadogan have suggested that the loss of the large screen would, in its view, bring benefits with it. However, this has been derived from comments made by proposed cinema operators rather than that of local residents and Chelsea cinema customers.
5. During this consultation process it has also been disappointing to see that the owners have failed to recognise the popularity of the large screen auditorium and the successful business that has grown out of this. In addition to the thousands of local residents who have signed a petition calling for the large screen cinema to remain the consultation has failed to note the success of the alternative content and special events like the MET Opera and the Royal Opera House that the Curzon provides. For these type of events the Curzon continually has the highest attendance in the country and a successful business.
6. The grand auditorium that dates back to the 1930’s sets the Curzon Chelsea apart from the typical cinema and has made it particularly popular with Chelsea residents and the local community.
7. The atmosphere of the auditorium along with the offer of being able to see alternative content and the social aspect of the Curzon Chelsea has led it to be seen by residents as a cultural destination venue rather than simply a cinema. As the range of special events that the auditorium is used for continues to expand it is now the case that the screen may not even be used at all for instance when David Byrne from Talking Heads was recently interviewed at the venue.
8. The Council’s policy is protective of arts and cultural uses including cinemas with any re-provision to be in the immediate vicinity of the site and to an equivalent or better standard. The loss of the large screen would not meet the same cultural standard that the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea has become accustomed to and would leave residents frustrated as it becomes harder to enjoy the cinema and the Curzon’s alternative and special events in this part of London.