Southwark Council has approved a £140k refurbishment plan for 231 Old Kent Road, funded by local developers.
Southwark Council’s Planning Committee has approved the release of £140k of Section 106 (S106) funds to invest in the 231 Old Kent Road community space.
The money, which comes from contributions made by developers as part of their planning obligations, will be used to refurbish the building ahead of the young people’s charity, the Southwark Young Advisors (SYA) moving in later this year.
231 Old Kent Road was opened in 2019 as a space where local residents, businesses and community groups could get together to share ideas and get involved in plans for the area’s future.
The space was repurposed from an old shop unit at the junction with Penry Street. Over the past couple of years it has been used for numerous events, workshops and consultations as well a popular exhibition about the area, The Museum of Us.
Now, £140k will be used to improve the space and activate the upper floors, so that it can be used by the SYA and to ensure it can remain open and accessible to the public (COVID-19 restrictions permitting).
The SYA is a local charity made up entirely of young people (aged 16 to 21) who help community leaders to engage other young people in community life; local decision-making and improving services.
The SYA will manage the building and will use the upper floors as their base and as a safe space for young people. It will be somewhere that young locals can access support, mentoring and training or simply use as somewhere to study.
CGI of upper floor at 231 Old Kent Road
The S106 funding comes from developers with approved building schemes in the Old Kent Road area. This includes more than £60k from nearby projects at Mandela Way and Grange Walk.
Alongside Community Infrastructure Levy payments, S106 is one of the ways in which local redevelopment can make a direct, financial contribution to improve local services and infrastructure.
The Young Advisors have worked closely with local architect, Shade Abdul, from Deft.Space, to ensure the redesign of the space meets their needs.
Young people in Old Kent Road have a vital role to play in the regeneration of the area over the next 20 years, so it is vital that their voices are heard loudly and clearly throughout the process.
It is hoped that the refurbished space will reopen this summer (2021) and that the SYA will move in shortly after.
Read more about the benefits of regenerating Old Kent Road