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I asked the council for a repsonse to residents' concerns. (These should be read in the context that we wanted the building retained by the council for community use but the costs were not acceptable to the majority party):
I have become aware that there is some concern from the community. However, I have only heard about this indirectly. I understand the concerns are being raised by the Save the Studio Group, but they have not raised these with me or asked me anything about the current position, hence I am not entirely clear about the nature of the concerns.
Since the decision to accept Citygate’s bid on 20th May, I have met with Citygate (Chris Hammond) on 5 occasions and good progress is being made, albeit this is being made at a slower pace than hoped.
Citygate has been busy developing its proposals for the refurbishment. It initially sent in a draft schedule of works to the LBB Heritage team for comment. There has been feedback on this and I subsequently arranged a meeting on site to go through the proposals room by room. There is now a clear understanding of the work that is going to be undertaken by Citygate. Citygate’s architect has now undertaken a measured survey to produce floor plans and elevation drawings and this will enable Citygate to submit an application for Listed Building Consent. The target for this was originally the 18th September, but this has now slipped into October.
English Heritage has also recently inspected the building because it is on the “At Risk Register”. I have arranged for further clearance of the rain water goods and have given assurances to E H that we are maintaining the building satisfactorily. I have also arranged for renewal of the lightning conductor which was damaged during HJA’s tenure. No further deterioration of the building has occurred since we had the roof repaired last autumn.
Citygate is intending to commence work before Christmas. Its latest outline programme shows that it is planning to complete Stage 1 of the works by Easter. This will enable the building to reopen.
Citygate has no intention of doing this and clauses are included in the draft documentation to prevent this.
I think you can report that steady progress is being made. However, because of the nature of this building (i.e. its listed status), the community needs to understand that the due statutory process has to be complied with and therefore a degree of patience is required.
I hope this is helpful
Cllr John Getgood
Penge & Cator
Penge Farmers' Market: Maple Road, Penge. Every Saturday 10 am to 3 pm
Interesting points : -
'DRAFT DOCUMENTATION', was this clause included in the FINAL DOCUMENTATION or is this still with lawyers ?
If Citygate are not going to use the Studio for 'religious purposes', which is their business, I cannot understand how they can use this building as a business asset, without renting space to other organisations !
Please enlighten me ....