BY YANN TEAR
Work is beginning this month to convert the disused Clancarty Lodge and depot in the north west corner of South Park, Fulham, into a new community hub.
The Sands End Arts and Community Centre will effectively replace a former centre in Broughton Road library, which was sold off eight years ago to make way for housing.
The new centre will have a cafe, children’s day nursery, associated landscaping works, a cycle park and a new pedestrian entrance to the site in Peterborough Road.
It is expected to open in the new year. Hammersmith and Fulham council, owner of the space, is funding the work through Thames Tideway – builders of the Thames Tideway Tunnel – and Chelsea Football Club.
Councillor Andrew Jones, cabinet member for the economy and the arts, said: “This beautiful new centre will enhance people’s wellbeing across Sands End and South Fulham.
“It will be set up to ensure that it is truly for people of all backgrounds and that residents are in the driving seat at the new community space.” The centre will be run by a community trust made up of local people, who backed the plans for a new centre in a consultation exercise a year ago
The design for the new facility by Mae Architects has already won a prize, ahead of construction, with the New London Architecture Awards selecting it last year in its culture and community categories.
Nine years ago, the Friends of South Park opposed council plans to sell off the site of Clancarty Lodge on the basis it would lead to a permanent loss of public open space.
But the council’s consultation exercise revealed broad support for the new centre. South Park itself has been open to the public since 1904.
South Park celebrated its centenary in 2004 with a small ceremony at which the Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham presented the park with some memorial benches. Clancarty Lodge has been derelict for many years.
It used to house a nursery school. It will be refurbished and incorporated into the new building.