Save the Odeon, Shaftesbury Avenue as a theatre or cinema

CGCA is presenting a case at the Planning Appeal starting in December 2020, and there  is a lot of interest in what happens.

Plans for a hotel would add 3 extra floors

Local people are against this beautiful listed building being turned into a hotel with 3 modern floors on top, an extra basement and a roof terrace.

We believe that the plans would ruin the building and badly affect those living behind.  The extra height would also cut off much of The Phoenix Garden’s sunlight.  The plans are on Camden’s website here, along with our evidence documents.

The building used to be the ‘Saville Theatre’ and its exterior is an unspoilt gem of 1930’s architecture.  You can see what it was like in its glory days at the theatre history website here.  It narrowly missed destruction in World War II, and continued to thrive until 1970 when it became a cinema.  It was also famous for its weekend gigs, started by Brian Epstein when he was managing the Beatles, where everyone from The Who to Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd performed.  We have put together a short video montage that you can see here.

The Saville Theatre in 1958

Well-known theatre owners would be prepared to buy the building and turn it back into a theatre with minimal alteration and full refurbishment.  The current owner of the building is Haim Danous (founder of Thai Square restaurants), and we thought he would be keen to take up their offers, but he is pressing on with plans for a hotel with restaurants and bars instead.  Camden council rejected his plans in 2018, but he is appealing to the Planning Inspector – which means that we need to put up a renewed and stronger fight to keep this last theatre in the West End. Or leave it as a cinema, which serves us well.

Please feel free to register to attend the Appeal inquiry and listen to some of it, and even to speak.  Several local people and experts will appear as our witnesses, but that doesn’t stop others from adding their voices.  The inquiry is being held online from 1st December to 18th December, and 5th to 6th January .  Issues relating to residential amenity are on the agenda for the first two days.

Please drop an email to if you would like details of how to register, or call Amanda at CGCA on 07957 388801. (more…)

Summer 2020 re-opening after lock-down

Here at Covent Garden Community Association (CGCA) we are looking forward to seeing our neighbourhood re-open for business.  For those of us who can, we will need to support our local businesses more than ever in the absence of many visitors.

However, the situation also carries some concerns for the community.  For example, we are working very hard to get an amendment to the ‘Business & Planning’ Bill that went through the House of Commons rather quickly on Monday 29th June.  We believe that measures to deal with the full impact of some points have not been dealt with in the wording.  Westminster council, and the amenity societies in central London, are aligned on this.  As is Nickie Aiken, our MP on the Westminster side.  But we need to work fast.  To this end we have chosen what we believe to be the most glaring issue to highlight for amendment. (more…)

2020 Coronavirus lock-down

Here at Covent Garden Community Association (CGCA) we are continuing all our usual planning, licensing and environmental work – especially in relation to community safety which is, unfortunately, quite an issue at the moment.  There just won’t be any live presentations from developers until restrictions are eased.  And, sadly, the May Fayre has had to be cancelled so we won’t see you out in the sunshine then.

Local organisations are are dividing things up between us to support our community, trying not to duplicate efforts. (more…)

Seven Dials Pillar Celebration


Saturday 29th June 2019, all around Seven Dials from 11am to 6pm.

Street performers, Children’s games and painting, Story telling, Community stalls, Music, Food and more, as part of ‘Festival 30‘…

… as well as two exhibitions at 19 Earlham Street that explain and celebrate the history ancient and modern of this remarkable area – the only surviving streets of Stuart London. (more…)

Annual May Fayre & Puppet Festival

Sunday, 12th May 2019.  11am to 5.30pm in St. Paul’s garden.

The nearest thing that we have to a Village Fete in Covent Garden.

Everyone is welcome to this beautiful, free event in the garden of St. Paul’s by the piazza.

The forecast is fine.  Please come, chat to your neighbours and get in the mood for Summer. (more…)

Armistice Centenary

In November 2018 a series of commemorative events across the UK will mark 100 years since Armistice.

Capco Covent Garden is planning to commemorate the Armistice by exploring the role played by the local community and would like your help in gathering information relating to the community’s contribution to the war effort.

This could be the story of your family from the Covent Garden area who took part in the war effort, either as a serviceman or back home, or the role of local services (such as nursing hospitals) – and, of course, the Market itself. (more…)

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