News: The Owl Sanctuary, Norwich forced to close

Some pretty awful news from The Owl Sanctuary camp in Norwich.

Please support the venue across their last few weeks before they shut down for good on the 31st.

Read the whole statement below:

This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to write and apologies for the heavy read.

I had a call just before Christmas saying that our building has been sold to a property developer without me ever being told it was happening or given any notice what so ever as should have happened as per my lease.

Its still not really sunk in but I’ll try and summarise.

After 2 years of hard work from my team and myself to create what has become one of the most respected and talked about DIY venues in the country my passion and dream has been kicked in the teeth, all we ever set out to do was create a
community venue with a solid ethos that had great beer and great music and didn’t have to sell its soul to provide that, it seems this day and age that’s just not possible.

To make matters worse the person who has purchased the building is Richard Pratt, who owns the furniture store next door. His plan was always to knock down the back of that store, Warings (the old workshops and last
remaining parts of the original cattle market) and build a huge block of flats which will be designed for upper class parasites such as himself to lock themselves away from the rest off the local community.

The only thing stopping this happening was the Owl Sanctuary as he would have contravened several planning laws in doing so such as blocking out natural daylight to our building and also blocking the venue fire exit and
the path that runs down the middle of these buildings, so what Mr Pratt has done is buy this building without ever stepping foot in the place, not even a building surveyors report was done which is the first thing you would do when buying a property. After buying land registry documents we found out that he paid £435,000 outright, no mortgage, for this building under the comical name Richard Pratt Retirement Benefit Scheme for a building
that was valued at £250,000 last year, but I imagine he will make that back on 2 flats within a year.

According to legal advice the only reason anyone would pay over the odds for a building they hadn’t ever looked at was to tear it down, which means The Owl will probably end up as a car park or more flats.

I would like to tell you a little more about the sort of person this is but my solicitor has advised against it, but I do recommend checking his Facebook page.

For me this just doesn’t compute, people so filled with greed that they are willing to do that to fellow humans. All for bits of paper that they already have far too much of anyway.

That said we will close our doors for the final time on Jan 31st after a solid week of shows. Due to this bullshit I am currently in a position where I have invested a crazy amount of time and money in a venue and now have no clue about my future prospects or security for my family, nor do my friends who work here and have done for 2 years since the day we got the keys and started painting by iPhone torch as they power wasn’t back on. So all we ask is please support us as much as you can until our closing date to help limit the financial damage this arsehole will inflict on us not to mention the damage to the local music scene, grass-roots touring and even the Norwich Soup Movement who are based upstairs here at The Owl.

We all just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us from day one when this was just a crazy idea, all the bands who ever played here (apart from Slapshot) and and from me to all my friends who helped me create something as wonderful and unfortunately all too unique these days as what we have/had here. I hope you will remember the past 2 years fondly.

At the end of the day the UK grass roots music scene, the Norwich music scene and the local alternative scene are all getting fucked over all because some capitalist wants to build some flats for middle class cunts regardless of the cost both financial and cultural.

Most shows we have booked in are in the process of being moved to other venues and any that will be cancelled will be refunded as soon as cancelled. If you have private shows booked with us I will be in contact over the next couple of days, just please bear with us at this shitty time.

Much Love and honest thanks for supporting The Owl Sanctuary.

Be excellent to each other.

Dan, Dan, Mackie, Chris, Josie, Chappers, Oz, Lee, Jack, Jack, Sam, Simon & Ellen

p.s Fuck Gentrification, Fuck The Right Wing….Don’t get mad, get even.

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Max Qayyum

Max Qayyum

Seeing Your Scene / DIY promoter / Cutting Room / Taco Hell

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