New public entrance, walkways and gardens being proposed
Wandsworth Town Hall. Picture: Sian Bayley
July 8, 2020
Wandsworth’s town hall could be transformed with a new public entrance, gardens, walkways, housing and flexible working space.
An emerging masterplan for the site was discussed at last week’s Finance and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
While still in its very early stages, with no design or planning application yet, a few key changes have been discussed. These include improved access across the site and into the town centre, new and improved public spaces, a new rear entrance to the town hall and a new customer contact centre.
New public spaces are proposed between the rear of the town hall and the proposed development of Ram Street, and should be pedestrian friendly. It is also hoped there will be clear routes to and from Fairfield Street, Ram Street and Wandsworth High Street and beyond to Garratt Lane and Southside.
The new entrance to the town hall is proposed in the area that was formerly the post room and should provide improved wheelchair access. It will also face the town and should ‘provide an open and welcoming space for visitors.’
At the moment, the main way pedestrians access the town hall is through a large car park. It is also hoped that the new proposals would boost housing development, likely on Ram Street, as well as employment space and some retail and leisure.
It is suggested that a design team should be appointed to develop proposals and a business case in discussions with the planning team and Historic England before submitting a planning application.
Wandsworth Town Hall was designed by Edward Hunt and built between 1935 to 1937. It is Grade II listed and covers a large site, but not all of it is currently used.
There is likely to be engagement events with the public in the coming months to find their views on the proposals. Feasibility and design costs are estimated to be £1.6m, before a planning application can be submitted. It is thought this will take around 15 months.
The redevelopment of the town hall is expected to take place alongside the removal of the one-way system in the town centre. This project has been delayed for a number of years, but it is hoped that the removal of the one-way system and gyratory will help to regenerate the area.
In September last year the council entered into an agreement with TfL, vowing to contribute up to £27.5m of the estimated costs of £79.2m.
However, the scheme is reliant on TfL providing the balance of the required funding. It is currently expected to start in autumn 2022 to be completed by late 2024 but there is concern about the impact of coronavirus on the funding for the scheme.
Cllr Louise Calland proposed an extra recommendation asking the cabinet member to write to the Mayor about the new plan and ask for a more direct timeline on hearing about a commitment to funding and a start date to the scheme. It was approved unanimously.
Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter