Plans by the Labour council to bulldoze the existing café in Southwark Park have been met by a storm of protest from residents and community groups.
The move was revealed in the Council’s recent announcement on the next stage of improvements to Southwark Park. As part of its plans, it wants to build a new modern café, park office, public toilets and nursery by the lake. They would open next year.
While welcoming the new café, community groups have expressed their anger at the Council´s plans to bulldoze the existing site once the new building has opened. They have called on the Council to think again.
A campaign to save the existing café has now been launched with an online petition. The petition calls on the Council to preserve and refurbish the existing café for use as an exhibition, education and local history space.
Local groups have argued that demolition of the building will cost the Council money and spoil views in the park. The Council has so far refused to consider any option apart from demolition.
Southwark Liberal Democrat councillors support the views of the Friends of Southwark Park and will write formally calling on the Council to drop its demolition plans.
Riverside ward Liberal Democrat councillor Anood Al-Samerai said:
“Everyone locally supports the plans for a new café, park office and toilets. They will make a real difference and add to all the brilliant improvements the Friends of Southwark Park have fought so hard for over the years.
“But nobody can understand why the Council is so set on demolishing the existing café next year. It could be a really useful community base, as well as be used for educational purposes.
“I hope that as many people as possible support the petition and the Friends of Southwark Park in their battle to make the Council listen.”