BY CALUM FRASER
More than 3,000 people have signed a petition in bid to save a local bar.
Residents in Lewisham were appalled when they heard that Little Nan’s, in Catford Theatre, had been issued an eviction notice by the council.
The bar has been in the area for almost two years after the council invited owners to apply for the space during efforts to regenerate the Catford area.
Little Nan’s owner and Tristan Scutt said: “When we first read the reasons they were kicking us out we thought ‘this is crazy’. They invited us here.
We love this place, our manager and all our staff are from Catford.”
Lewisham council said the bar, which hosts live music, is causing too much noise which is disrupting shows and that there are ventilation issues.
The council wants to run a quieter theatre bar which does not host live music.
Mr Scutt, 33, said: “We were under the impression that they were going to sort the ventilation and the sound proofing issues.
We had highlighted these during a long application process to get the site.
We took on the space on the basis that there would be collaboration and communication, to enable the theatre and Little Nan’s to operate effectively side-by-side.
“It feels like we’re just being shoved out without any consultation.”
The council says it will cost too much to soundproof the building, as the Broadway Theatre, in Catford Road, is Grade-II listed.
The Save Little Nan’s Broadway Theatre Saloon petition was started a little more than a week ago by Sally Christopher, and it hit 3,000 signatures on Wednesday.
Mr Scutt, of Deptford, said: “The support we have had has been fantastic and has really kept us going these past few day. “Reading the comments on the petition has been really overwhelming. You realise how much the community appreciates what we’re trying to do.”
One resident, Ann Coppinger, said on the petition: “I’m a young, single 60 something and can go to Little Nan’s in the daytime and in the evening and feel totally relaxed and comfortable with people of all ages, most of whom live locally.”
There are two other Little Nan’s, one in Fitzrovia and the original in Deptford.
The bars are best known for their cocktails in teapots, which many people enjoy as a tea party through the day, and live music at night.
Another resident, Stephanie Correll, said: “I want to support local, small businesses and believe in this venue, and I’m proud of its journey and how it has breathed new life into the Broadway Theatre.
We will fight for this precious gem of Catford – it will not be stolen from us.”
Cuban novelty singer Margarita Pracatan, who found success in the 1990s playing on The Clive James Show, has also signed the petition.
She wrote on Twitter: “I just signed it [the petition] and so have thousands of people who love this loving, happy place. Please, Lewisham council: Save Little Nan’s Broadway Theatre Saloon.”
Mr Scutt said that he is having a meeting with the cabinet member for parks, neighbourhoods and transport, Cllr Brenda Dacres, next week to discuss the situation.
The council also said that the bars layout was disrupting disabled people’s access to lifts. Cllr Dacre said: ‘We apologise for not making the reasons for invoking the break clause clearer.
We had hoped that Little Nan’s would be able to stay for a longer period. Unfortunately, the venue has proven to be unsuitable for their operational needs as a business and has resulted in the loss of full access to the theatre space.
The arrangements have also negatively impacted the theatre’s operations. “Through ongoing discussions with Little Nan’s, we have informed them of the issues that have arisen.
Ultimately, staying at the venue is no longer an option based on the detrimental impact they have had on the running of theatre productions, as well as significant concerns about access, which has also been brought to our attention by theatre patrons.
“We have given Little Nan’s as much notice as possible so that they are able to find another venue in the local area.
Council officers are also looking at other options at the moment and will work with them to find an alternative space that is suitable for them.”
If the council stick with their plans to cut the Little Nan’s five-year contract short, the bar will be closed on February 10, 2019.
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