Southwark Council has approved £150k in funding for local community project, the Walworth Living Room, based just off Old Kent Road in Surrey Square.
The project is being led by Pembroke House and has already had seed funding from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.
The idea is to bring All Saints Hall, a heritage building in Surrey Square, back into use as a new public space for the whole community.
Some basic restoration work has already been undertaken (and the building has been used as a foodbank during the pandemic). But the long-term vision is to create a new neighbourhood facility with a social space and community kitchen at its heart, surrounded by shared activity, meeting and office spaces.
By locating a range of services, organisations, events and activities together – all under one roof – Pembroke House intends to bring people and organisations together that wouldn’t normally interact.
This additional £150k will help to restore sections of the building that can’t be used at present and will also help to unlock further investment from other sources.
The money comes from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), a levy raised on developers with local building projects.
Alongside S106 payments, CIL is one of the ways in which local redevelopment can make a direct, financial contribution to improving local infrastructure.
Last year, the council invited the public to suggest projects which could be funded with the £6m of Local CIL available throughout the borough.
Over 1,000 ideas were suggested and the decision taken by Southwark Council’s Cabinet this morning (19 January) means that The Walworth Living Room will join more than 60 other projects chosen by the council to receive a share of the available money.
The council hopes that the Walworth Living Room will complement its own new community space, nearby, at 231 Old Kent Road (which has just been awarded £140k of S106 money).
The two spaces could cooperate on projects, share facilities and it’s hoped that 231 could provide a high street presence from which to promote its Surrey Square neighbour.
All Saints Hall is a part of the Old Kent Road neighbourhood’s heritage. Preserving, restoring and giving new purpose to heritage sites like this will be one of the main benefits of regeneration over the next 20 years, alongside new homes, better transport, green spaces and new jobs.
Read more about the benefits of regenerating Old Kent Road