Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Mansion House Pub seeks seven day opening until 4am

You'll all be pleased to hear that a new pub is to open in Kennington (or, perhaps I should more accurately say, Newington, but more on that later) just next door to the Old Red Lion.   Mansion House Pub (46 - 48 Kennington Park Road) is to re-open (allegedly some time in May, although they'll need to get a move-on if the scaffolding is anything to go by).  Theoretically, it's good news.  The pub plans to specialise in Real Ale and "pan-Asian cuisine" (I confess I'm a tad sceptical about the cuisine... would you ever visit Toulouse Lautrec if they said they offered pan-European food?  Possibly not.)  But a new pub/restaurant beats an empty building, and new jobs are good for the area so you might tell me to quit whinging.  You all miss my whinging, right?

I predicted some time ago when the Old Red Lion were opening that two pubs would be unfeasible on account of the fact that the Public House business has become mired in regulation (smoking ban) and taxation (on just about bogging everything), and a lot of people (judging by the top deck of my bus) prefer to drink straight from a can of Tesco's lager...  Also, Kennington is stuffed full of pubs at present, and it's hardly THAT far to walk between the Old Red Lion and the White Bear Theatre Pub, is it?  Sid Boggle (a reader here at Lurking) has heard heard that the pub might be named Oaka, presumably because the company that owns it is named Oakham Ales.  How original.  Let's hope they change their mind... 

The local SE11 public might rather hope they'll change their mind about something else too.  That is, the opening hours.  If you go and take a look at the hoarding outside, and you happen to be 8 feet tall (I am not joking), you will see that the Oaka or Mansion House or whatever it's called is applying for licencing hours from 7am to 4am.  What, just on Saturday nights?  Umm, nope.  That would be EVERY NIGHT.  If you don't believe me, you can go and read the Licencing Application on the Lambeth website.  And if that wasn't enough (because, arguably, people that drink until 4am are known for their quiet comportment), they've applied for live music licence from 10am until 3am!  Oh dear.  Clearly somebody didn't do their research.  Remember the hubub when the White Hart/Tommyfield threatened to try and open until 1am.  The Cleaver Square residents got their way, I believe.  Gosh, it would be great if a modern, suave, inner-city, urban-priest would show up at this point to protect our poor "run down" Kennington and save the day...  I wonder whether there might be the odd loose canon in the area who could lend a hand?

Fortunately, some rather tall soul has noticed this attempt to ruin our quiet residential area (ignoring the double red-route main road that never sleeps) and has scrawled in GREAT BIG letters on the hoarding "4am", so I spotted it as I strolled around the area.  Surely it's illegal to place a licencing notice so high up that nobody can actually read it?  Already a concerned reader and local resident emailed me to ask for support.  So, here is some support:

46 Kennington Park Road is in Princes Ward.  Cllr Stephen Morgan (our resident enthusiastic emailer), Cllr Mark Harrison and Cllr Lorna Campbell will no doubt only be too pleased to hear from you.  They have actually posted the news on their own blog, but judging from lack of comments, nobody is reading!  Just click on their names, and you can send them an email!  Why not email them all for good measure?  There's more information about Making A Representation re. licencing here.

I'm rather late off the mark, so you'll need to send in a response by 27th April 2012.  Be quick, and can somebody tell the Kennington Association et al?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Major new Art Hub development for Kennington and planning permission approved for Pathways at St Anselm's

I've been sitting on this little nugget for ages, but was advised to keep it under my hat.  A year or so ago, 373 Kennington Road (currently the place in which Cactus TV studios are based) was put on the market for £2.7 million, carrying planning permission for residential development on the site.  At the time, I heard a rumour that it had been purchased by new owners who intended to turn into an art gallery, but after that, things went suspiciously quiet...

It has now been brought to my attention that Space Station Sixty Five (a gallery that is currently based in East Dulwich) plan to open a sister gallery in Kennington at 373 Kennington Road.  According to Lambeth Weekender, It will officially open in 2014, but is to host preview shows in the meantime.  The gallery directors note that it will have arts studios, a cafe, a bookshop and a retail centre (so, no residential development, it seems)!  It's being billed as a "community arts hub".  Cheekily, the directors also suggest it will put Kennington on the "London arts map", but arguably, we cornered the arts market some time ago, with the City & Guilds School of Art (Kennington Park Road), Gasworks (Vauxhall Street), Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art (Kennington Road) and Beaconsfield Art Gallery (which is currently being expanded by Damien Hirst, in Newport Street).  Also, I think there's a new gallery planned for Tyers Street in the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.  But, it certainly will change the landscape, and bring additional arty folk to Kennington. 

If the Beefeater gin distillers ever manage to pull off their plan to convert the gin factory into a visitor centre, that quiet corner of Kennington would become a hive of activity.  I've no idea what that means for the future of the TV studio, but the site is 1,673 square metres, so it offers quite a few possibilities.  In hard times, the addition of any creative business that might provide employment should be welcomed, and in another coup for Kennington, St Anselm's Church were granted planning permission for their own Pathways project (a combined restaurant, cafe, educational, worship and community hall facility).

In less positive news, it looks as though the 216 Kennington Road Tesco is due to come to fruition soon.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Missing Cat (Cookie)

I had an email yesterday from Pierre, who lives on Monkton Street, to say that his cat, Cookie, has gone missing and has been missing since Sunday night.

In Pierre's words, he's "a very sweet and endearing cat – and we think that he is not too far from our house, just lost, confused and scared in someone’s back garden in the neighborhood." 

They've knocked on the doors of locals in St Mary’s Garden and Monkton Street and have been touched by everybody's concern.  In the meantime, has anybody seen the cat?

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Beaufoy Building sold to Diamond Way Buddhism and Bellway Homes

Lambeth Council announced yesterday that a charity named Diamond Way Buddhism have exchanged contracts (not completed) with The Beaufoy Trust to purchase the Beaufoy Building and the land surrounding it on Black Prince Road.  Interestingly, at the KOV meeting yesterday, Diamond Way implied that they'd only recently been involved in the purchase and weren't involved in the earlier bidding process...  That might be worth digging deeper on.

Lambeth Council also owned the car park surrounding the Beaufoy, and contracts on this have been exchanged with Bellway Homes with plans for a residential development. 

Completion on both pieces of land will take place once planning permission has been obtained for both planned schemes.  The sale of the entire site is said to have generated £9 million, of which £7.5 will be awarded to Lambeth Council and £1.5 million to the Beaufoy Trust.  £200,000 has been earmarked for the local community, and the three ward councillors, with community input, will apparently be making the decisions about what the money should be spent on.

Diamond Way Buddhism plan to use the Beaufoy as a community facility, place of meditation/education (though not as a school) and residential accommodation. Ordinarily, they would run meditation sessions most evenings and sometimes debates.  Diamond plan a non commercial cafe for the building.  They will move in and begin work on the building and plan to open the building for tours as soon as it is safely possible.

At last night's KOV meeting, Diamond Way acknowledged that their centre would bring the total Buddhist centres in the area to three (the others are Jamyang on Renfrew Road and Kagyu Samye Dzong on Manor Place), which will make Kennington and surrounds a potential Buddhist hub.  Diamond are apparently similar to Jamyang, but differ in that Diamond are a lay organisation.  They've about 150 members in the UK, but are more popular abroad.  As soon as the news was announced, I received an email with a link through to here asking whether Diamond Way Buddhism was a cult...  Slightly worrying, but if you're concerned you can read one person's blog on the matter here and I found a somewhat wider debate over here which may not mean anything to people unless they've some idea of how Buddhism operates.

Bellway Homes plan to build 79 flats in the car park area, down from an originally proposed 89.  40% of the Bellway flats will be affordable housing, which entirely meets Lambeth's target.  As per last night's KOV meeting, they're also hoping to invest in a nearby playground.

Take a look at the diagrams from last night's meeting, if you didn't manage to make it there yourself. 

Please note that on the plan below, the grey building referred to as "Lilian Baylis Secondary School" is actually the Beaufoy!

The following are the plans and sketches from the Buddhist centre:

I've had lots of kind emails asking whether I've disappeared, so just to clarify... This is one of an occasional post that I hope to make on Lurking about SE11.  I'm not planning to blog in the same detail that I was before, but neither am I inclined to close the blog.  I've stepped back from Lurking because I feel that part of the reason that I set up the blog (to try and encourage online conversations to move offline) has not been entirely successful.  I plan to remain involved in local organisations and stay in touch with some of the fantastic people I've met, but I think it's vital to spend more time offline than online and to work on the other projects.

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