22 December 2009

Update on Peckham Rye Common toilets

An important development regarding the former toilets on Peckham Rye Common.

It seems we may have had some success in convincing the council that this shouldn't be a commercial enterprise. We've just received an e-mail from "Peckham Rye Projects" saying that the council have now offered them the contract to restore and maintain the toilets building. For those who haven't previously heard of Peckham Rye projects, I'm sure they won't mind me briefly quoting their e-mail here:

"We are a not-for-profit gallery offering outreach programs to local schools and groups. We intend to sensitively restore the building, maintain the gardens and to open the gallery toilets to the public. We also intend to offer the building to community groups for use when the gallery is closed for business. We are aware that M.O.L and common land restrictions apply to any alteration of the building."

They applied for a Cleaner Greener Safer grant to restore this building before the council offered it as a commercial contract - an application that was supported by the Peckham Rye, Lane and Nunhead councillors. Although it wasn't successful in the 2009 round they were encouraged by the councillors to re-apply for 2010 - something they have now done. They are also seeking the support of the sub-group set up by the Community Council for their bid.

Personally, I think their suggestion is the best I've heard for the re-opening of this building and their willingness to make the toilet facilities open to the public will overcome objections from many people hoping to see the building returned to its former use.

Obviously, this is not the end of the story, as Peckham Rye Projects will need to await the outcome of their bid to the CGS fund. Events have overtaken the sub-group to some degree, but in this case I think this is positive.

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