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Plans to ‘breathe new life’ into Thamesmead’s Lakeside Centre as a ‘major cultural hub’ are underway

PUBLISHED: 15:04 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:37 21 April 2017

Artist's impression of the Lakeside Centre in Thamesmead

Artist's impression of the Lakeside Centre in Thamesmead

Archant

Find out the plans for the centre

Thamesmead’s Lakeside Centre could be a “catalyst for unlocking talent” in a year’s time if £1.5million renovation plans go ahead, according to one of the figures behind the proposals.

The Mayor of London’s Regeneration Fund and housing association Peabody are together funding plans to transform the building, first opened as a bar and restaurant in 1971, into a “major cultural hub” for Thamesmead’s artists.

Under plans put to Bexley council, the building overlooking Southmere Lake is set to be completely renovated, with a new cafe, 40 creative workspaces to be used for a variety of artists from fashion designers to film makers and a training kitchen run by Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency.

Since first opening its doors 46 years ago, the building has been visited by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in 1980, and appeared in Channel 4’s Misfits from 2009.

The plan to develop Lakeside Centre comes as Peabody hopes to build around 1,600 homes in the area.

Peabody expects the building to open in April 2018 if approval is given, promising the space will offer “a wider partnership of events, school programmes, public art and affordable housing for cultural key workers” once managed by arts education charity Bow Arts.

A day nursery, gallery and space for pop up stalls and markets are all aspects Peabody expects to be on offer if works go ahead.

The housing group’s executive director for Thamesmead, John Lewis, said: “Our partnership with Bow Arts will bring this much-loved Thamesmead landmark back to life. The Lakeside Centre will be a very special place for residents to enjoy and will also help develop Thamesmead’s existing creative and entrepreneurial spirit and bring new businesses, jobs and visitors to the area. Alongside the other exciting changes taking place in the area, this will help Thamesmead fulfil its promise as London’s new town.”

Bow Arts’ chief executive, Marcel Baettig, said: “We know the Centre will become a catalyst for unlocking the talent that we know already exists in the area. But behind the excitement lies our long term commitment to Thamesmead, as one of its newest residents it will take us time to establish and become part of the community – but this is a process that we are very much looking forward to.”

Deputy London mayor for culture and creative industries, Justine Simons, said: “Not only will this exciting new partnership put culture right at the heart of the community, it will transform Thamesmead and provide vital creative workspaces and affordable housing for key cultural workers.

“A lack of affordable space is one of the biggest threats to London’s reputation as a cultural powerhouse and we need more partnerships like this.

“We recognise the immense value artists bring to the capital’s identity and success, and I’m delighted that we are working with Peabody and the wonderful Bow Arts to do just this.”

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