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Blackhorse Action Group | Standard Music Venue – No news is bad news?
The Standard Music Venue

Inside the Standard Feb 2014

It’s now over two years since the Standard Music Venue was bought and closed by TFC Supermarkets and still we wait for news on it’s future. In the meantime TFC have allowed the building to crumble, doing little to the site beyond scrawling £5 to park on cardboard signs outside.
Holes appeared in the side of the building, and it was left open to the elements with bits of its sign falling onto the pavement. Developers on the site behind claimed TFC would only sell the land to them at a vast mark up (and this before the current property spike) and any attempt at contact from community groups has been ignored.  They told the local paper that plans to open a music venue next door were being scupered by the council.

Recently however work (presumedly not structural as they have no planning permission) began on the site and many residents have been in touch asking what’s going on?

Update from Waltham Forest Council planning officers: 28th Feb 2014

Pre-planning application discussions with the owners TFC are still on-going. We are trying to negotiate a mutually acceptable scheme that meets the Council’s objectives and TFCs needs. Until the Council are confident that any proposed scheme, in terms of its quality and uses, can be considered favourable we will not be inviting a planning application submission. The Council is hoping to get a high quality mixed use development on the site that will incorporate retail units on the ground floor, residential above and a some form of entertainment facility. The owners can of course decide to submit a planning application at any time they choose and we would have to consider it on its planning merits, but to date we have not seeing a scheme that meets the Council’s objectives for the site“.

In January 2012 the leader of the council, Chris Robbins issued this statement regarding the venues importance to the area:

Many of you will know the Royal Standard Pub / Standard Music Venue near Blackhorse Road Station in Walthamstow. This venue although not the prettiest in the borough, has long been a place used by local musicians. A few months ago the pub and surrounding buildings was bought by a family run supermarket (TFC Supermarkets). Their initial plan was to knock the pub down. Being aware of its music history I contacted the new owners and asked them to meet with me with a view to alerting them to how important the Standard Music Venue is to us as a borough. I informed the new owners that we would expect the pub to be physically retained and that it should continue to be a venue providing local entertainment. I am pleased to tell you that there initial response was very positive and that we are now in discussions with this company with a view to restoring the building and its function.”

The Standard has been in every area action and 10 year plan for the last decade. In March 2005 Cathy Low, group manager of Waltham Forest Regeneration programmes responded to a question from BAG about residents concerns that we don’t just get housing in the new Blackhorse Lane but at the very least keep our existing amenities and entertainment places.

Thank you for your concern about the future of the Standard Music Venue. It is possible that the new developments around Blackhorse Road station will include the land currently occupied by the Standard……. It is very much our intention to ensure that any new developments lead to an improvement in entertainment and leisure facilities in the area. Many local people have also expressed support for keeping the Standard so we intend to work with the landowners and developers to see whether it would be possible to include a new and improved Standard within any new developments. We will keep you informed in this regard“.

You can read a fascinating history of the Standard Music Venue / Royal Standard on the ever excellent Walthamstow Memories site.

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9 Responses to Standard Music Venue – No news is bad news?

  1. Alistair says:

    Unfortunately they do not need planning permission to turn the pub into a supermarket, only the signage would require planning permission.
    and if the council class the building as a music hall (which i doubt it is at the moment) then they can still convert to a supermarket for 2 years without planning permission.
    “Buildings with A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, D1 and D2 uses will be permitted to change use for a single period of up two years to A1, A2, A3 and B1 uses.”

    by which time they will have probably sorted out permission or sold the venue. Unfortunately the long and the short of it is that the standard has gone, and will not come back in the form it was. If we are lucky we’ll get something in the new mandora site

  2. Andrew says:

    The council have a lot to answer for here, they sholuld have prevented it failing into TFC’s hands to start with. We dont need another supermarket in the area, especially in place of a music venue and pub something we are lacking through out the area to start with. I walk past this building every day and I have to question what they are doing inside as they have gutted it, it would appear that they are making alterations that contradict the councils wishes. Having been in the building many times as a customer the removal of the bar suggests that they are planning a shop to go in there regardless. TFC clearly bought it thinking they could do what the want with, the back part where the taxi firm was has been partially restored. I would suggest the planning officers actually visit site and ask the question what they are doing???

  3. Peter says:

    Isn’t it time the local council learnt a lesson? TFC are possibly profiteering: buying a condemned site in a fantastic position and holding it ransom to the highest bidder – with no intention of developing it themselves. In the meantime the building falls to ruin, the community suffers and house prices in the area are retarded as a direct consequence.

    The big question is why would the council have accepted another supermarket bid in the first place. Exactly what we don’t need. There’s a very odd game afoot.

  4. Nez says:

    I’ve just seen the pictures of the interior of what was my favourite London venue to play. I actually googled ‘The Standard – Walthamstow’ now that I have a new band together, as I was really hoping to get back here…

    … I nearly have a tear in my eye seeing those interior pictures.

    Then I saw why and how this closure happened, and now I’m just mad.

    I want to close by saying ‘this is such a shame’ but somehow I just don’t quite feel those words do justice to this. I will say that iconic music venues are being closed down all over the city – mostly to be turned into gastro-pubs, or apartment buildings. There are obviously financial reasons behind some if not most of these closures, but I know for a fact that a significant number are also down to noise complaints… i.e. people who bought a house next to a pub and then complained the pub was noisy. We used to call them NIMBYs (Not in My Back Yard… actually I used to call them something else but I’m really trying hard not to use rude words in this comment).

    Meanwhile, and not entirely unrelated, the Simon Cowell bullsh*t-spoon-feeding-empire floods the charts with inane vapid rubbish, and the lay-man in the street has had enough of that too at this point… but guess what? If you take away all of these places for genuine musicians to hone their skills and perform their art, yes you will be left with nothing but the manufactured industry-producer-written off-the-shelf rubbish to listen to.

    Bring back the Standard! C’mon Walthamstow I have faith in you!
    Keep music live! Live musicians are REAL musicians, not auto-tuned pop-products.

    (certainly willing to put my own time and effort into assisting with this, I REALLY loved this venue).

  5. Dave says:

    We played here throughout the early ’90s, travelling up from Wales with the band and fans. What a fantastic venue this was a what a great time we all had. Absolutely disgusting that it was ever allowed to be sold and now allowed to decay. Shocking.
    Dave (Welsh rock band S.E.X.)

  6. Matt says:

    This thread is over a year old now and seemingly gone cold and yet there’s no apparent movement on the site of the standard, barr a general downwards crumble…
    I’m off the mind that something will have to be done on a different site to being back the service this venue provided and am willing to work with anyone who is interested in making it happen. My idea is something of a modernisation incorporating facilities for kids as well as adults, I’m talking somewhere between the chequers and the mill with live music and other events ,feel free to disagree, any discussion on the matter would be refreshing. BAG, help us. I already run a music studio in Tottenham but want to work on a project in walthamstow… find a site… do a business plan. Interested parties get in touch. Possibly run it as a cooperative?

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