An apology from Dame Abramsky would have been more appropriate

Dame Abramsky, in defending the new Hampstead Theatre, glosses over the only substantive part of my criticism by saying she wasn t involved until after the new structure was built (H&H letters, December 3). That s not good enough – an apology would have b

Dame Abramsky, in defending the new Hampstead Theatre, glosses over the only substantive part of my criticism by saying she wasn't involved until after the new structure was built (H&H letters, December 3).

That's not good enough - an apology would have been more appropriate.

She must acknowledge that the theatre obtained planning permission by a deeply corrupt process and that its new building obliterated our park, taking up so much space that it compromised every other community facility in the whole of Swiss Cottage.

It is also a fact that it runs right across the windows of Mora Burnett House, to the eternal detriment of the many house-bound older people who live there, as well as being a brooding presence over the 'garden', as Camden Council's planners call the over-designed water feature below the building.


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I also did not comment on the theatre's activities, relying instead on the words of its founder James Roose-Evans: "the theatre is now so large it depends on corporate funding and co-productions... and has become institutional.''

In any case, had the theatre been incorporated within the other buildings on the southern end of the site, as I and others argued at the time, every single one of the activities of which Dame Abramsky boasts could still have taken place, although its overpriced coffee shop (the fourth in this area alone!) might have been more obviously superfluous.

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Oh, and the fact that we are ''allowed'' to use their decking in summer rings hollow, as empty of value as the theatre is most of the time!

This theatre was built largely using our lottery money (�11 million and counting) on land belonging to the whole community, vitally important as the only open space in the area.

Much of this space is now obliterated by a building which is ugly on the outside and which, try as it might, only entertains a small clique of theatrical types, mostly from outside of the Swiss Cottage area.

Why won't the theatre and its supporters admit that what they (or their forerunners) did was wrong, or do they live permanently in fantasy land?

David Reed

Eton Avenue, NW3

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