I recently asked about it’s future.
Ian Ross, the Council’s Parks Manager replied:
“This building has been subject to much discussion recently along with its potential viability as a commercial premises. Following said discussion, and having considered the findings of a previous public inquiry, we do not think that this building is viable as a commercial premises. Reviewing the Planning Inspector’s findings it is unlikely a commercial operation would receive planning permission.
On this basis Officers will shortly be consulting with Councillors for Addison and Shepherd’s Bush Green Wards with a view to seeking planning permission to demolish this building. It is worth pointing out that any decision to demolish will require Secretary of State permission due to the sites Conservation Area status and public consultation will be undertaken as part of this process.”
I pressed a bit. Could we not at least attempt planning permission, could we not put it in the market place to test commercial viability?
“The options for this building have been discussed a number of times now. Feedback, based on informal discussions with Planning colleagues, is that planning permission would not be forthcoming for a cafe. The Inspector at the Planning Inquiry deemed that a replacement building including toilets, was not appropriate. There was significant opposition from shopkeepers in properties facing the green, and this level of opposition could be anticipated for any change of use of the existing building, the area’s common land status is an extra complication. Additionally it would cost any new occupier a large sum to put the building in working order, and this would mean the Council would not obtain rental income for several years.
“While it always disappointing to lose a building that has a potential use our options are very limited here and given this building is detracting from the overall appearance of Shepherds Bush Green the practical approach is to move forward with seeking permission to demolish. This, as outlined in my previous email, will be subject to public consultation due to the area’s conservation area and common land status.”
Local residents I have spoken to feel if it is to be demolished the site should be grassed over and not made into hard-standing of which there is far too much on the Green anyway.
What are the alternatives? Could it be a newsagents if a cafe would not be permitted? A shelter from the rain – or would that become a haven for tramps? A pump station for push bikes?
The present situation is unsatisfactory. It should not be demolished until there has been a genuine effort to find a viable alternative use – which clearly has not yet taken place.
If it was restored this would be an attractive building in a prominent location.
Please let me know your ideas.