Demise of London Pleasure Gardens leaves many in the lurch

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  • Now having gone into administration, the ill-fated London venue has left hundreds of people unpaid, unemployed and unreimbursed.
  • Demise of London Pleasure Gardens leaves many in the lurch image
  • Following the demise of London Pleasure Gardens, which has now gone into administration, many employees and ticket-holders are feeling cruelly shortchanged. The 20-acre venue should have been a boon to the community of Newham, bringing more than 300 jobs plus opportunities for food vendors and other tradespeople on the site. The Olympics would bring in an initial surge of business—London Pleasure Gardens is one of two exits through which spectators are directed as they leave the ExCel centre—followed by a regular stream of big events, including parties from Mulletover, secretsundaze and Cocoon. As it happened, the Olympics brought in only a fraction of the crowds expected—less than 7,000 per day by some estimates, versus the predicted 40,000—and many of the events scheduled over the next few months changed venues even before LPG went into administration. This has left many of the site's employees in limbo. The bar staff were all made redundant last week, and now it's up to them to receive their unpaid wages from the National Insurance Fund, which doles out payments of no more than £430 per week. Lara Bishop Sharp, who supervised one of the bars, reckons that many staff are owed as much as £3,000, and not all of them (herself included) are eligible for reimbursement from National Insurance, which means they're likely to go completely unpaid. "The kids did a great job, and they were gutted to lose their jobs, and now they are stunned that they will not be getting paid for the work they have done," she says. The fact that many staff were offered three-year contracts, and in some cases turned down other opportunities while they waited for the venue to open, compounds their frustration. "LPG was a three-year project, promising some job security for a lot of our younger folks," says Carleen Williams, whose 20-year-old daughter was among those made redundant. "They are now returning to Newham Workplace in an attempt to find jobs but being told that there is very little out there. It's a real shame." In a statement sent out before the site was built, London Pleasure Gardens promised that "Newham residents [would] benefit more than most" from the project. The prospect of the venue boosting the local economy was part of what influenced the Newham Council's recent £3 million loan to LPG. Meanwhile, the venue's architects have reportedly still not been paid, and most Bloc ticketholders are struggling to be reimbursed. Some of LPG's would-be upcoming events have announced that they will go ahead, albeit at different venues. London Warehouse Events say they are homing in on a new spot for their Cocoon Heroes - Enter the Magic party in December, which features Sven Väth, Carl Craig and Cassy among others. Mulletover have also confirmed that their Halloween party will take place on the same date as originally planned but a yet-to-be-announced venue. "It's something we're use to and seems to haunt us since our beginning, another venue change!" said resident and promoter Stuart Geddes. "I'm sure it's for the best, no doubt we'll find something else and be able to provide an even better experience."