‘We need to talk about what developers are doing to York, and the impact they are having on its culture’

She Drew The Gun perform at The Crescent in October. Photograph: The Crescent on Facebook
24 Oct 2019 @ 8.29 am
| Entertainment, News

The Crescent Community Venue is not going anywhere.

But the unique live programme of events at the York venue is under threat by a proposed new development. And that should start people talking about what’s happening to the city, the venue owners say.

Brothers Ed and Bob Leyland took over the old Crescent WMC off Blossom Street towards the end of 2015. Since then they have turned it into a venue the city can be proud of, running a diverse range of music, DJs, comedians, films, talks and community events.

Now they have issued a detailed statement about the risk to its future posed by a plan to turn the next door Crescent Day Nursery into four flats.

They say a conversation about the future of York’s cultural venues “has become even more urgent with the loss of The Falcon Tap, and shadows hanging over Fibbers and ourselves”.

Not going anywhere

Staying put: the Crescent. Photograph: YorkMix
In their statement the brothers make it clear they are here to stay:

  • Nobody is shutting us down, and no upcoming shows are under threat: as a 100% independent, family run venue, we are lucky enough to own the building we operate in.

    We don’t have a landlord or parent company that can sell out from underneath us. Anyone who has visited us has probably also realised that our team is dedicated to creating a unique cultural space that York can be proud of.

But the planning application to turn a commercial property into a residential one puts what they do at risk.

The Crescent has worked with the Music Venue Trust to change planning guidance that “makes it a developer’s responsibility to insulate against noise from pre-existing venues; but this wasn’t mentioned at all in the application submitted”.

Complaints from neighbours about volume levels can lead to venue owners having to curtail their programmes: “Residential or hotel developments near music venues are often deaths by a thousand cuts”.

York music network

The Crescent owners are calling on York to join them in a wider discussion about the future of entertainment in the city. They say:

  • We need to have a larger conversation around what developers are doing to York, and the impact they are having on its culture.

    This conversation has become even more urgent with the loss of The Falcon Tap, and shadows hanging over Fibbers and ourselves.

They have been meeting with the organisers at other venues such as The Fulford Arms, Victoria Vaults and Micklegate Social, alongside the Music Venue Trust to form a York Music Venue Network.

“We are asking for the council to support and fund the creation of this network; recognising the risk live music venues face across York and the wider country; as well as the vast benefits that live music and independent venues bring to the cultural economy of York.”

They are asking people to support them by lodging an objection to the apartments planning application, by coming to a show and by talking to their councillor “about how they can create better environment for music venues in York”.

Ed and Bob finish by saying: “Meanwhile, we’ll keep putting on great shows that the city can be proud of. We hope you can join us.”