* ACTOR JOELY RICHARDSON AND THEATRE DIRECTOR SIR TREVOR NUNN JOIN FIGHT TO STOP KING STREET REDEVELOPMENT
* MORE THAN 200 PEOPLE ATTEND SOS PROTEST MEETING
* PHIBBS AND SLAUGHTER SQUARE OFF OVER PLANS
* COMMUNITY URGED TO 'CREATE MOVEMENT' TO STOP 'MONSTROUS' SKYSCRAPERS
* SCHEME IS A 'CON'
Hollywood actress Joely Richardson joined more than 200 protesters to passionately speak out against plans to regenerate King Street in Hammersmith.
Ms Richardson, who grew up in Ravenscourt Park, hit out at the plans at a meeting organised by the Save Our Skyline (SOS) protest group at the Riverside Methodist Church on Monday night.
Renowned theatre director Sir Trevor Nunn also spoke against the scheme, which includes plans construct two skyscrapers for flats and council offices and a new supermarket to replace the historic cinema, saying future generations would 'revile' it.
Ms Richardson, star of The Patriot, recalled visiting the cinema as a child and lamented its planned loss, telling the audience: "I first heard about this when my brother said, 'You'll never guess what? They want to get rid of the cinema'.
"That cinema was part of my young life, I used to go there every single weekend. Future generations aren't going to wistfully remember their trips to Tesco. Another supermarket is the one thing this area doesn't need.
"Let's stop this."
Sir Trevor, who has directed a string of theatre classics including Macbeth and Hamlet, focused on the 14 and 15-storey skyscrapers, labelling them 'ugly', 'crass', and 'vulgar'.
"The great architects sense the necessary scale for a building depending on its environment – there are superb examples of this in King Street, like Latymer School, the Lyric and the new library.
"This is not the work of great architects but people who still think 'big is beautiful'. It is grotesquely out of scale and future generations will revile it. These architects only want to celebrate themselves."
Another speaker was Simon Curtis of the Thomas Pocklington Trust, the charity for the blind which rents a threatened block of affordable housing in Cromwell Avenue to visually impaired tenants, students and young professionals.
The 54 flats could go to make way for the supermarket, and Mr Curtis warned of the financial consequences for the trust.
"The income from the homes helps us research the causes of sight loss and we rely on it to support our work," he said.
"This is valuable affordable housing which isn't going to be replaced."
Carlo Nero, of the newly-formed Save Our Cinema splinter group, rejected claims from King Street Developments (KSD), the developers, that the 1930s cinema, owned by Cineworld, was not profitable.
Mr Nero said KSD's figures, provided by independent cinema authority Dodona, were based on 'assumption', with official spreadsheets from box office data firm Nielsen revealing the screens made nearly £1m in 2009.
"The cinema is enjoyed by people all over west London and it is actually doing very well," he said.
The two-hour meeting threatened to boil over when Tory councillor Harry Phibbs heckled Labour MP Andy Slaughter, who also made a speech of support.
Mr Phibbs was roundly booed but was persuaded to address his hecklers from the podium.
He said he agreed with protesters about the height of the towerblocks but argued bulldozing the Town Hall extension was necessary, and that KSD's scheme offered the only way to keep council tax down.
"Is it worth paying higher tax to save the skyline?" he asked.
Mr Slaughter labelled Mr Phibbs 'arrogant' and said: "This scheme is purely destructive – even the Sheriff of Nottingham wouldn't have thought up something like it.
"It's vitally important this battle is won, otherwise there could be more monstrous developments all over the borough."
The meeting was chaired by SOS's Nick Bastin and John Jones, who urged the audience to create a 'movement' and 'deluge' the council with letters of objection.
They accused KSD of publishing misleading 'propaganda', including inaccurate photographs and 'bogus' financial figures, and said the firm had changed the original proposed height of the tower blocks from seven-storeys to 15.
"No one is against improvement or regeneration but the price here is too high," said Mr Jones, a barrister. "Build as many flats as you like – but in buildings no higher than seven-storeys."
He added the public are being 'conned' into thinking the scheme was necessary to save them money, and said the Town Hall extension did not need to be bulldozed in place of a new piazza, saying it was neither 'wanted or needed'.
SOS are also against plans for a bridge to link Furnivall Gardens and the Nigel Playfair Avenue, saying it will eat into existing park space and will be a 'muggers' paradise'.
It also fears an increase in traffic, loss of daylight for residents in Cromwell Avenue and Riverside Gardens, and doesn't want an 'illuminated landmark' on one of the tower blocks.
The council says the scheme is necessary because the Town Hall extension is at the end of its life and must be replaced. KSD's plans are the only way it can be done without expense to tax payers.
No decision on a supermarket operator has been made, it says.