Elephant and Castle

Walworth Town Hall

Update

On 2 March 2022, works began onsite to remove the Walworth Town Hall and former Newington Library off Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register and bring the buildings back into active use. The scheme is being delivered by the developer General Projects with architects Feix&Merlin in partnership with the council. Works are programmed to complete by late 2023.

When it reopens, the town hall will feature a mix of flexible studio and work spaces for start ups and small businesses, a café open to the public and community space. It was also important to retain a level of public access to the buildings. Through the planning agreement, central areas of the town hall, such as the former council chambers, will be open to the public for events on at least 12 days a year.

Council has worked with General Projects on their approach to refurbish the listed building and to provide a community space on the ground floor of the former library. A board has been established with representation from the community, General Projects and the council to select a third party operator for the community space and oversee the space. The operator selection process will take place during the next 18 months while construction works take place. The intention is to create a welcoming place that provides a vibrant range of events and activities meeting the needs of all the community.

Background

At Cabinet on 12 March 2019, it was agreed that General Projects was the successful bidder for the Walworth Town Hall project. The Cabinet report and decision can be viewed online.

In June 2017, the Cabinet agreed a revised project mandate for the Walworth Town Hall to seek expressions of interest from the market for Arts and Culture D1 uses in the building. Through public consultation and further detailed work with the community it was very clear that maintaining public access to the site is a key consideration, as is protecting the rich heritage of the buildings and these will be strong drivers in the marketing brief.

Originally, a budget of £20m was allocated to bring the town hall back into use. However, extending the scope of the project to include Newington Library and our work to understand the condition of the building, indicated that project costs would total £36-£40 million. Changes to service requirements also meant the entire building complex was not required for council services. Due to the constraints on the council’s capital programme and demands on council funding, it was decided the project was not feasible.

Page last updated: 13 September 2022

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