You know the routine by now. Lovely London street is slowly gentrified or systematically targeted by an estate agent-led voracious land-grab. Cue the mass arrival of chain stores, coffee behemoths and clothes emporia. Hey presto, previous atmosphere and any local life is gone, just like that. The traditional heartland of London’s art world in Cork Street is being threatened with just such a fate, after it was announced that the leases of many longstanding galleries would not be renewed. This makes way for a hotel and luxury apartment block, with restaurants and shops to follow, a situation that mirrors a similar struggle for survival and conservation being waged in the nearby Burlington Arcade.
Among the galleries at risk of closure are the Mayor Gallery, Alpha Gallery, Adam Gallery and Beaux Arts, as well as plans to redevelop a site that Hay Hill, Bernard Jacobson, Messum’s and Petleys all call home. And if that wasn’t enough, the long term future of many others on the street is now also uncertain. Do you want art or offices? Canvas pictures and inspiring sculptures or more silk scarves and unaffordable haute cuisine? If this riles you as much as it does our Art section, then click on the ‘Save Cork Street’ petition to Westminster Council before September 30 and help us reach 10,000 signatures. Ossian Ward
Sign now at change.org.