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Stephen Fry urges: ‘Sign petition to oppose Crossrail 2 threat to Soho’s authentic soul’

Curzon Cinema is facing bulldozer threat due to transport scheme

17 February, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

Save Soho chairman Stephen Fry, the former host of QI

SAVE Soho chairman and national treasure Stephen Fry has launched a petition, already signed by 2,000 people, urging Soho to be saved from harm from Crossrail 2.

The rail project could lead to two blocks in Soho, including the Curzon Cinema, being bulldozed to make way for a new station. The threat to the cinema was first revealed by West End Extra in December 2014.

Mr Fry, who has been supporting musician Tim Arnold with the Save Soho campaign to protect cultural venues since its inception, said: “The future of Soho could change dramatically this coming June when we anticipate the transport minister announcing the approval of Crossrail 2. It will allow the demolition of two blocks for a new train station that will bring double the footfall of King’s Cross Underground into and around Soho. That’s 270,000 ­people every three-hour peak right on the corner of Frith Street and Shaftesbury Avenue. We do not oppose Crossrail 2. However, we oppose any decision to include Soho in the scheme.”

The new rail scheme would link stations in ­Surrey and Hertfordshire to London, running from south-west to north-east London.

“The new threat to Soho’s authentic soul coming from Crossrail 2 is a real and urgent issue that needs, we feel, to be debated and understood as widely as possible around the country,” Mr Fry said. “Soho is not just a metropolitan enclave, after all – far from it – it is a focus, a magnet for the young, creative and open-minded around the country. I believe and hope that this petition will do a great deal to focus public awareness and understanding of the dangerous waters lapping up against Soho and the very real and exciting possibilities that arise from retaining the area’s spirit.”

Tim Arnold, who is well known for his album The Soho Hobo, added: “Every tax payer in the UK will be paying out of their pockets the £32bn bill for an­other London project that will destroy a valuable cultural asset – Soho.”

He added: “Sign this petition to stop the government from wasting your money on demolishing the world’s leading community of diversity, inclusivity and a longstanding legacy to provide space for creativity and freedom of expression. That space now has a shelf-life of months. We’re doing everything we can. The rest is down to the people. When the Romans came for Spartacus, the slaves said: ‘I am Spartacus’ to save him. TfL and the government are coming for Soho. When they ask for Soho, please join us by saying: ‘I am Soho’ and sign the petition.”

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