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Union Theatre fights back against eviction

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The Union Theatre in south London has confirmed it will be evicted from its venue by the end of the year, if Network Rail, which owns the archway it is housed within, is successful in its planning application to the local council.

The venue’s artistic director Sasha Regan said her company would be given six months’ notice to leave if planning permission is granted at the end of May.

Network Rail has applied to Southwark Council for a change of use for the site, to convert the space into offices.

Regan said: “I burst into tears [when I found out the planning application had been submitted]. It’s just such a short period of time.

“It’s been unbelievable that, since we found out about this, my regulars have shown so much support. It’s been overwhelming. We’re all small independent businesses here that work really hard and they’re going to try replace us with offices, which the area doesn’t need.”

A petition was launched by members of the Union Street Traders Association earlier this month to stop the railway redevelopments going ahead. It has attracted more than 4,000 signatures so far.

Regan added: “We will fight this. We’re going to have a huge event on May 1 under the arches to invite people down to enjoy everything we do. We need to turn our petition signatures into objections for the planning committee.”

A website has been set up with information about the plans and the petition at saveunionstreet.webeden.co.uk

Southwark Council’s consultation on the plans closes on May 1.

The 50-seat venue won the 2013 Stage 100 Award for fringe theatre of the year.

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