Arts & Culture, News

30th December 2019

24 Kitchen Street and its struggle for survival

Ioan Roberts, the owner of the venue, gives us a frank discussion on the future of the iconic Liverpool venue

A campaign to appeal to Liverpool City Council on the decision to allow a block of flats to be built without the correct acoustic proofing has gained momentum in the past few days.

The developer, Brickland, wants to implement windows on the building that owner Ioan Roberts says will, “almost certainly lead to noise complaints once residents move in”, adding “noise complaints get venues shut down”.

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#savekitchenstreet Unfortunately it looks like our worst fears are being confirmed, we’ve just found out that Liverpool City Council are looking to give permission for the neighbouring block of flats to install windows that will, according to acoustic surveys conducted both on our behalf and the developer, almost certainly lead to noise complaints once residents move in (Sept 2020). As has happened with venues up and down the country, noise complaints get venues shut down. In future, they are suggesting that we seek Temporary Event Notices (you’re allowed 12 per year), in order to host the louder and more bass heavy music events (they use the example of a reggae concert). Going back through our program from the last 12 months, we believe this would affect around 60-90 shows, spanning techno, punk and bass music styles. In any case, we already use most of our temporary licenses for outdoor terrace parties, and only have around 3 spare. This essentially restricts the scope of music we can do by style and genre, reducing the artistic and creative freedom on offer at Kitchen St through which we have made our name. We are not prepared to accept this, and realistically would rather shut our doors than work under such restrictive conditions. Since we have not been proven to be a noise nuisance, it is unfair that we should have to change and limit the way we operate to save a developer money. Liverpool is a Unesco World Heritage site for music, so it is ironic that the council is failing to protect grassroots and independent music in the city. Please help us get this message out, we need support for them to take our concerns seriously. @lpoolcitycouncil @mayorjoeanderson @wendysimon6

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Image Credit: 24 Kitchen Street – Instagram

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has weighed in, dismissing the issue in the past few days, adding “I don’t see what all the fuss is about because we are making sure that the developer is doing everything they are asked in terms of the acoustic work on the site”.

This is disputed by Mr Roberts, who added that the continuation of the current methods would be the venue’s “worst fears being confirmed”.

Image Credit: Joe Anderson – Twitter

Mr Roberts spoke to us of the origin’s of the venue, adding that it was “stumbled upon by accident” whilst viewing other buildings, and that he “instantly knew it was the right building” upon entering.

Since opening its doors it has played host to many memorable gigs and parties in the city, solidifying its status as a Baltic triangle stable and a must go Liverpool venue.

Image Credit: BalticTriangle

The cultural impact 24 Kitchen Street has had in the regeneration of the Baltic triangle area has not gone unnoticed.

Asked about the impact of 24 Kitchen Street, Mr Roberts told us “24 Kitchen Street has created a buzz in the area that has made it marketable to young professionals”. 

The area has become a hotspot particularly for students and young professionals, which many would attribute to the culture of the area, being a creative space, full of music, food and art. 

Image Credit: Tim Groom Architects

It is this very marketability that is being invested in by developers, keen to generate income in the region, that is now threatening the future of the independent music venue.

Asked what potential solutions the venue and the council could mutually come to, Mr Roberts informed us of the idea of a “Deed of Easement”, which would essentially revoke residents rights to complain about noise from the venue. Discussions are ongoing as to what other possible resolutions may be available.

The issues facing 24 Kitchen Street are admittedly beyond their control, with Mr Roberts adding, “the ball is in the councils court”.

The main aim of the campaign is to build attention on the issue, as Mr Roberts expressed, adding “keep spreading the message and they will listen” and “expressing the issue is helping the cause”.

Mr Roberts then concluded on a defiant note, adding “We’re not going to stop until we come to a resolution”.

GET TWEETING – #savekitchenstreet

The campaign to #savekitchenstreet remains ongoing.

Featured Image Credit: Ents24