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A central cultural hub in Kingston, live music venue The Hippodrome, is under threat. Kingston and Surbiton Labour Executive Committee members are determined to make sure cultural and arts spaced continue to thrive in Kingston.

Below: Kingston locals came out in their droves to see world famous band The Charlatans play at The Hippodrome in May 2017.

Kingston locals queue to see The Charlatans at The Hippodrome (May 2017)

Over recent weeks, initial proposals for the redevelopment of Surrey House and The Hippodrome site have been shared with the public. As with any proposal of this size, a number of important questions will need to be answered: will there be any affordable housing? Can the town centre support more car traffic? Are there plans to improve the local infrastructure? Considering the current rate of vacant stores in the town, is there a need for more retail space? These questions should be asked of all developments; however, the unique feature of this proposal is the proposed closure of The Hippodrome nightclub and live music venue.

As anyone who has visited the venue on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night will tell you, this is an upsetting and devastating proposal. Grove resident, Alex Nelson, said “My own visits to the site over the last decade have led to me meeting some amazing people, discovering new music and watching friends display some spectacularly bad dance moves”.

Alongside being a firm favourite for local people, as a gig venue it has played a huge part in enabling Kingston to become a hub for rising international bands, provided a springboard for local talent and played host to nostalgic nights from bands who topped the charts in the 80/90/00s.

The application for the site fails to consider the thousands of people who visit the site every year (both the clubbers and gig goers) who view the Hippodrome as their cultural space within the town. Krystal Finan, President of the Kingston University Labour Society, explains “No other club or venue in the area offers what it does – a space for huge touring bands, a range of club nights that play everything from the Top 40 to obscure indie acts, as well as providing a community space that is used in the day by local charities.”

All of this stands alongside the clear benefits to the night-time economy and the jobs that the club provide. The photo above, taken in May 2017, shows the numbers of locals attracted out on a late Thursday evening to see a band, The Charlatans, that has played significant venues and festival throughout the world for over 25 years.

The council currently fails to understand how important it is to maintain a space for all local cultures, or the importance and the unique identity that Kingston’s music scene gives the borough. Kingston Labour Youth Officer, Clare Keogh, argues “While music and club culture appeals to people of all ages, we must remember that in particular this is an important space for young people and students, who bring so much life to our borough”.

“Kingston Labour will fight for all cultural and arts spaces across the borough, and will continue to hold the council and developers to account, ensuring that Kingston is not reduced to a homogeneous commuter town, but a unique, vibrant and inclusive place for all.”

 

Kingston cultural venue under threat

A central cultural hub in Kingston, live music venue The Hippodrome, is under threat. Kingston and Surbiton Labour Executive Committee members are determined to make sure cultural and arts spaced...

After another successful street stall talking to voters in the Kingston and Surbiton constituency today, local Labour candidate Laurie South has released a video message for voters, explaining why the only option is to vote Labour on Thursday, 8th June 2017.

Since the 2015 General Election, membership of the local Labour party has more than trebled, with over a thousand members now; between them in the snap election period, members have delivered leaflets, canvassed and attended weekly street stalls throughout the borough to campaign for Laurie South. Also, members have spread Labour's positive message digitally, including producing this video.

Last year's London mayoral election (2016) showed when voters don't vote tactically in the constituency, as was the case with first choice votes under a system of Supplementary Vote (when all voters can vote for a first and second choice), Labour get more than twice as many votes as the Lib Dems in the borough of Kingston and Surbiton. 

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As Laurie explains in the video, tactical voting doesn't work, and the only alternative to the ideological programme of austerity we have had since 2010 is Labour.

Labour have a fully costed manifesto, an industrial strategy for growing the economy and jobs, and a morally compelling vision with progressive policies.

Meanwhile, as the demographics in Kingston and Surbiton continue to develop, and more university students register to vote, Labour will only continue to grow as a local force, as long as voters stick with the courage of their convictions.

The video, where Laurie urges all constituents in Kingston and Surbiton to vote Labour is here.  

Laurie South Video to Kingston and Surbiton Voters

After another successful street stall talking to voters in the Kingston and Surbiton constituency today, local Labour candidate Laurie South has released a video message for voters, explaining why the...

Kingston_and_Surbiton_Parliamentary_Candidate_Laurie_Smith.jpg

The Labour candidate for Kingston & Surbiton for the June 8 General Election will be Laurie South.

Laurie has lived in Kingston & Surbiton for over 25 years and one of his sons went to school here. Laurie’s career has included teaching in further education and schools, with 7 years spent in rural Africa, senior local government experience in Humberside and Inner London, spells at a Training & Enterprise Council and the Local Government Information Unit, and as chief executive of two national charities.

Many people know Laurie for his work as chair of Kingston & Surbiton Constituency Labour Party, but locally he is also known for his Morris dancing and amateur dramatics.

Laurie is passionate about developing a community for all rather than for the benefit of the advantaged few.

As he says “This election is about what kind of society we want. The Tories want to continue their failed austerity programme which hits the least well off hardest while giving tax cuts for the rich. Labour wants to invest in growth where wealth is shared more equally by all. It’s a very simple choice: Labour or the nasty party. Tactical voting will only let the Tories continue as they did before, with or without a sprinkling of Liberal Democrats.”

Laurie's campaign will be launched with a street stall in Kingston on Saturday (6th May 2017) at 11am - details here.

To help Laurie’s campaign for a better society, please contact him on Laurie@kingstonlabour.com

 

Labour choose Laurie South to fight Kingston and Surbiton

The Labour candidate for Kingston & Surbiton for the June 8 General Election will be Laurie South.

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