Please find below the Walworth Society’s response to the planning application to refurbish the Walworth Town Hall and former Newington Library following the fire in 2013.
In essence the plan is that Southwark Council will lease the buildings to General Projects (a developer of private workspace) for 150 years, the buildings will be restored, a Community Space will be created (c10% of the total floorspace) on the ground floor of the former Newington Library and the public will have some access to other parts of the building, most significantly to the cafe space that is being created on the ground floor of the former Town Hall building.
The detailed Walworth Society response to this development appears in the pdf below
and our overall objections fall under the following main headings:
- We regret the loss of these key civic buildings in Walworth to public use.
- The guarantees in relation to the retention of key elements of the proposed Community Space for the duration of the 150 year lease are insufficiently strong. Southwark Council only proposes to enshrine these guarantees in the lease between itself as freeholder and the tenant (General Projects). It is vital that these guarantees are also written into the S106 agreement as changes to this (and not the lease) are subject to public scrutiny.
- While we welcome the plan to retain the building in its entirety and the commitment to its refurbishment along the lines advocated by Historic England, we are very concerned at the overall design quality of the restoration of the Walworth Town Hall and the Newington Library buildings. Overall the design does not demonstrate the experience required to ensure a high quality restoration of the architecture and structure that is needed for nationally important listed historic buildings.
- The bin storage area and waste management plan are not adequately detailed to suggest how it will work and whether there is enough space to accommodate and manage the waste that is now anticipated compared to what would have been generated prior to the fire in 2013.
- We remain concerned about the quality of the access for people with impaired mobility and the reliance on an external lift as is proposed on Walworth Square.
- We propose that there should be a local labour scheme and propose other conditions in relation to labour and working conditions during the construction phase.
- It does not appear that there is enough cycle parking for those who will work at the Town Hall and its visitors.
How to Comment
If you were able to include some or all of these points in your responses we would be grateful. To comment…
- Go to: https://planning.southwark.gov.uk/online-applications/
- Pop in: 20/AP/1649 into the Search box.
- Go into Make a Comment.
Thanks so much and we understand that this application will go to Planning Committee later in the autumn.