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Singer Frank Turner joins campaign to save Plymouth's White Rabbit

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: March 27, 2014

Comments (11)

A POPULAR musician has joined thousands of campaigners hoping to save a much-loved city music venue from demolition.

Frank Turner is urging his followers to sign a petition to safeguard the White Rabbit in Bretonside, which he describes as the “lifeblood” of Plymouth’s live music scene.

The adjoining coach station is set to be knocked down and replaced with a £42million cinema and restaurant complex as part of plans to transform the city centre.

The online petition, addressed to council leader Tudor Evans, had attracted more than 2,500 signatures.

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Daniel James, owner of the White Rabbit, said that the first he knew of the proposal was when he read The Herald.

“I have been there for 10 years and the White Rabbit was a labour of love in response to peoples disappointment with the local music scene.

“A lot of time I’ve been living on the breadline.”

Cllr Mark Lowry, the city’s Cabinet member for finance, said the council had been in touch with all the tenants affected by the development.

“They are on short-term leases with a development clause.

“But we’ll be making sure we give them all the support necessary and will work with them to find suitable alternative premises.”

Daniel said he had not heard from the council, but thought that could be due to the fact that his working day starts at 5pm.

He said: “I’m not opposed to the development.

“I’d be ecstatic if they could find me another suitable venue of that size in town, not too far from the university campus, that isn’t going to affect residential premises.”

He said he needed to know soon what was going to happen because “it has already spooked a lot of my promoters”.

Frank Turner told The Herald: “I’ve played the White Rabbit a bunch of times on my travels – it’s the staple underground venue in the city of Plymouth, a fact confirmed by people I know in town. The shows I’ve had there have always been great – a good atmosphere, well run, a good crowd, the right intentions. Small venues are crucial to keeping underground and independent music scenes thriving, they are the lifeblood of any scene and a training ground for many, many bands who go on to bigger things – be it Radiohead, Biffy Clyro, or even me. It deserves the support of the live music community and the people of Plymouth.”

Louise Ellar, aged 24, who created the petition, said: “The White Rabbit is a very important place for music enthusiasts, not only in Plymouth but also its surrounding areas. It’s a place for everyone to come together and support their favourite bands and make new friends. The intimacy of the venue allows people to do this very well. Its uniqueness is loved by many, and not just by the fans. Many bands that have played here have commented on what a special venue it is, and how they can’t wait to come back on a future tour.”

She added: “It may just be another building to some, but to so many it is a second home, a place where they can have the best time and forget everything in their daily lives. Without The White Rabbit, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy watching our favourite bands play locally.”

Music fan Matt Venner, aged 26, said: “When I first found out about the plans I was deeply upset by it. White Rabbit is not just a place to see bands play, it’s also a place where people with similar tastes in music and bands are be able to meet and have a laugh with each other. I have met some wonderful people and bands at the White Rabbit If the plans were to go ahead it would cause so much hurt for the music scene.”

Sean Pye, aged 17, from Torquay, added: “If White Rabbit goes, Devon’s music scene will slowly die out. But Rabbit will not go without a fight.”

Find the petition by clicking here.

Read more from Torquay Herald Express

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  • crazyjonhere  |  March 30 2014, 4:32PM

    Another tired old club that needs to move on Its about time they did something down there Bretonside is tired stinks and just looks an eyesore Time to move on stop hanging on to the past

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  • brerfox  |  March 29 2014, 12:20AM

    White Rabbit? I hate the place. The door staff are rude and they tried to brand me in order to get in. Sod that, good riddance I say.

    |   -3
  • Ziltoid  |  March 27 2014, 1:25PM

    Boohoo. I've had some great nights in the Rabbit seeing bands, but I remember how they were so aggressively against an O2 Academy coming to Plymouth. They wanted to be the only venue - this is what we get now - some would call that karma. They can move - they'll get well compensated for the displacement. Is anyone really passionate about going to Bretonside bus station for gigs? It'd be madness to cancel a much-needed demolition of the embarrassment that is the bus station, for a semi-decent gig venue. Move to somewhere better, there's enough empty buildings in Plymouth.

    |   3
  • HermesZThelem  |  March 27 2014, 4:05AM

    I heard on the grapevine Dan has worked hard to employ four staff and manage a living to enable in continuum a breeding ground for raw Plymouth talent and a flourishing gig-circuit for such rising stars as vixen trash "Crazy Arm" providing a safe environment for the ever present student population in which I've rarely (if ever) seen any trouble and which was one of the clubs I was never chucked out of in Plymouth for my terrible dancing. Whilst I remember eating an early lunch with Mum in the café before being packed-off to Grandma's with my brother on the coach for the vacation which covered the rest of the summer holidays, most who have lived in Plymouth have had that next day feeling of waking-up with an air-freshener taste on their buds. Play it safe play it on anon dancing one more time spinal tap stage floor. The dance pit we all return to when we want to entertain our friends at home. More games more games. A∴A∴ Argenteum Astrum

    |   -4
  • Ghost_Butter  |  March 26 2014, 7:15PM

    @thejamsh. hahahahahaaaa grow up ! you expect them to build you a new venue and refurbish it because the white rabbit has nowhere to go? what are you 5 ?

    |   2
  • TheJamsh  |  March 26 2014, 6:37PM

    To all the above commenters, is another Cinema and more clones of ****** shops really what Plymouth needs? While Bretonside Bus Station is in need of a revamp, it needs to accommodate the already established businesses down there. There is actually, NOWHERE for the White Rabbit to move to. Unless of course we want every live music venue in Plymouth to be nothing more than a pub with a raised bit of flooring for a 'stage'. If the Rabbit and other businesses are forced to find a new location, then a suitable replacement should be built or heavily refurbished and kitted out. Currently no such suitable (and affordable) place exists.

    |   -2
  • hurricane  |  March 26 2014, 5:23PM

    Why don' they just scrub round the whole idea of this leisure park just to save the poxey white rabbit

  • Jannerbear  |  March 26 2014, 4:58PM

    With respect the current bus station looks and smells like a public toilet, there is waiting room let alone a secure one there isn't even a arrivals/departure board not to mention the smell of fried food, bleach and urine, should of been demolished years ago. I do remember a plan to relocate the civic centre and provide a new bus coach station on the same site... I wonder what happened to that? As for the White Rabbit good luck and all that but I am sure there are many better places for you to go.

    |   13
  • londonjanner  |  March 26 2014, 4:30PM

    As a rock fan who has been to some good gigs there, this is a shame. However what makes White Rabbit good is not actually the venue, its the people who go there, the staff that run it and the bands that play. The least important thing is where it currently is - which is dump of bus station that smells of urine! Let's not be short sighted here and try and stop a large development (which is great for Plymouth) over this. Rather than spending time and energy over petitions, the White Rabbit needs to find an alternate location! I am sure they knew this day would come, the bus centre has been ear-marked for development for ages! Time to find a new venue guys so the rock scene in Plymouth keeps going!

    |   24
  • beowulfonline  |  March 26 2014, 3:24PM

    Nothing is permanent. I'm sure they'll find another venue. Didn't it used to be a cafe?

    |   11