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.
Kennington Water Tower - Kennington Water Tower Joel Antunes photography. Photographers. *Kennington* Water Tower
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