For those of you who have followed the battle for Passing Clouds it’s been a tough week. But it has not been a week without hope.

The full story is here, but the summary is the landlords have seized the building and Passing Clouds are seeking to appeal the decision. Hackney Greens have been supporting the campaign and will continue to stand with the community against those who would likely build a soulless luxury development in its place.

Passing Clouds has long been at the heart of environmentally-aware politics in Hackney. During the 2015 General Election, one particular highlight of mine was seeing a Vote Green poster on display late on a Saturday night. Recently, they were kind enough to allow Hackney Greens to show a series of films raising awareness about issues such as how industrial agriculture, air pollution and the plight of refugees fleeing to Europe.

Passing Clouds is the latest victim of a trend of rising property values pricing out long-standing and much-loved venues and community spaces. Ironically, it’s these places — built on the hard work and creativity of the community — that developers market as part of the local ‘lifestyle’. A few months back, a promotional video for a nearby luxury development caused outrage — mostly because it depicted a Hackney stripped of its diversity. That is what we risk by losing venues and community spaces like Passing Clouds; a Hackney where only rich people can live and a homogeneous place without Hackney’s unique and vibrant character.

We need to work together to better protect the Hackney we love. Some campaigners have been able to use planning rules, others have applied for the protection of buildings as ‘Assets of Community Value.’ Ultimately, it is the hyper-commercialisation of Hackney and of London more widely that demands urgent action to be reversed.

Please support Passing Clouds and find out how on their website.

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