Second-generation Irish director Mike Figgis hoping to save London landmark

Second-generation Irish director Mike Figgis hoping to save London landmark

OSCAR-nominated writer and director Mike Figgis is hoping to save a north London landmark by transforming it into an independent cinema and performing space.

Along with his casting director cousin Susie Figgis, the Leaving Las Vegas director is aiming to turn the former North London Polytechnic building on Prince of Wales Road in Kentish Town into a new arts and cultural centre.

Mr Figgis told the Camden New Journal: “We envisage it could be similar to places such as the Notting Hill Arts Club or the Kilburn Tricycle.”

“It could be used for film, music, arts, educational courses and have a remit of providing a space for new performances and people who are already established.

“We would like to see a new, community-orientated body to run the space, providing an eclectic, diverse platform for film, music, spoken word, live performances, food and entertainment, with a charitable trust overseeing it.”

The son of an Irishman from Dublin, Mr Figgis, who is also a composer and photographer, said: “We believe the site is the perfect spot for a long-standing, successful new centre celebrating contemporary performing arts.”

Plans to develop the building – which was until recently a Pizza Express - is still in its early days with no date of completion yet set as possibilities regarding the lease are still being explored, Mr Figgis' assistant, Tara Li-An, explained.

“The project seems to have gathered a tremendous amount of support in such a short time, it is really encouraging,” she said.

Developers Redview had sought planning permission to knock the building down and build flats on the site, but the plan collapsed after an appeal.