Following the resignation of its creative director yesterday, we’re now hearing reports that London Pleasure Gardens, venue for the disastrous Bloc 2012, will be going into administration later today.
Update: A spokesperson for Newham Council has confirmed that LPG has gone into administration. They said: “The decision by London Pleasure Gardens Ltd to enter into voluntary administration is regrettable but understandable. It is disappointing that the anticipated visitor numbers and revenue from recent planned events have not materialised”.
Deloitte’s Lee Manning, who will apparently be handling the administration on behalf of the company’s Reorganisation Services, has reportedly confirmed that the venue will be going into administration shortly [thanks to Alan Haughton at Stop City Airport for the information].
Update: Rob Harding, another of LPG’s administrators from Deloitte, has made the following statement: “Unfortunately, London Pleasure Gardens has underperformed against its original business plan both in respect of festival activity and far fewer visitors than originally envisaged passing through the site and using its facilities. This has manifested itself in a cash flow shortfall in the business resulting in the directors having no option but to appoint Administrators. We are now in discussions with all of the key stakeholders with a view to ensuring continuity of services on the site, whilst seeking purchasers for the business and assets, which include significant semi-permanent event structures.”
This presumably explains the decision made by Secretsundaze to pull their festival from the venue. But it’s particularly bad news for Newham Council: as The Quietus reported shortly after Bloc, the council supplied a loan of £3 million to support the venture – money which they aimed to recoup through collecting 20% of profits from the site. It seems clear that they’ll struggle to reclaim this money, and there’s no argument that the venue has fallen far short of achieving its original purpose – to aid the regeneration of East London as part of the Meanwhile Project.
Recent Reuters and BBC reports list the numerous growing pains suffered by the venue which, as well as being the site of major events such as Bloc, plays host to traders’ stalls on a daily basis.
Supposedly a daily footfall of 35,000 was expected at the site during the Olympic period – LPG is one of the two exits Olympic visitors are directed through after watching events at the ExCel Centre – but the the reality has been closer to 7,000. As a result, the BBC reports, traders are seeking a refund from the site’s organisers – though their odds of getting one look slim now.
It’s been suggested that the expense of cleaning up the post-industrial site is to blame for facilities not being as advertised, and that visitor restrictions owing to the Olympics have deterred visitors. Either way, the huge disparity between the quantity of public money lavished on the venue and the returns seen for businesses, locals and visitors, suggests some exceptionally poor decision-making somewhere down the line.
This story to be updated as we hear more.