Passing Clouds occupiers evicted

Another episode in the operatic saga that is London’s relationship with cultural spaces looks to have taken a turn for the worse

On Tuesday around 50 bailiffs descended on Dalston’s Passing Clouds and removed those members of staff and supporters residing within. The windows and doors have since been braced with metal shutters.

The venue has been embroiled in a lengthy battle to stay open since November 2015. In a sequence of events that’s become boringly familiar, the building was ‘acquired’ by a development firm Landhold, effectively activating a countdown to its closure. First the firm asked Passing Clouds to sign a statement saying they had volunteered to move their business due to the building’s dilapidation. Following refusal from director Eleanor Wilson, the firm threatened eviction without notice before offering a 15 year lease at 3 times the rate they currently pay.

When staff found that the landlords had changed the locks one morning in mid-June, they called out to supporters, gained entry through a second floor window and re-took back the building from the two bailiffs inside. They had been occupying the building, continuing to programme and run events, since then. Tuesday marked the end of this run when in a scenario similar to the eviction of squatters from The Elephant and Castle last summer, bailiffs arrived in numbers, forcibly removed people from the venue and shuttered the doors behind them.

Support for Passing Clouds remains strong, with support coming from the public and local MPs, plus a petition with around 14,000 signatures. It is thought that Wilson is considering a high court challenge to the eviction.

Passing opened in 2006 and has hosted countless artists from around the world, including: Tony Allen, Dawn Penn, Lee Scratch Perry and the Sun-Ra Arkestra.

Via: (Time Out)