I joined the Council ready to bend everyone's ear about the importance the local community attached to the issue of Goldsmiths' derelict shop fronts on New Cross Road - but they already knew and had been working on a plan more ambitious than I would have thought to lobby for. They also gave this project top priority in their wider campus master plan. They have been on the case - they understand that if the area flourishes, they will benefit too.
Separately, I attended a presentation by the GLA last week about the growth of flexible work spaces across the capital. Their experts praised the work of Goldsmith's partner for this project - Meanwhile Space. Work starts shortly. It's very exciting but it's not even the most exciting aspect of the master plan - I look forward to being able to share more news in due course. Here's what the Goldsmiths team have to say:
"New life will be brought to some of Goldsmiths’ most visible buildings under an innovative partnership between the university and a leading community interest company.
"We have teamed up with the pioneering firm Meanwhile Space CIC to establish a hub for creative start-ups at 302 to 312 New Cross Road.
"The regeneration scheme will see new affordable work, living, retail and communal spaces created in and above the current shop fronts – with initial structural building works to begin this month[JUNE]. A planning application is currently with Lewisham Council for approval of the scheme and the full renovation of the buildings.
"The ground-breaking scheme will combine the four types of space in one location, providing a unique opportunity for innovative enterprise concepts to choose a combination of spaces to propel their idea.
"It is also a move which makes Goldsmiths one of the first universities in the country to enter into such a partnership.
"Capturing the vibrancy of New Cross, the project will be aimed at start-up businesses, Goldsmith’s alumni and stakeholders from across the local community.
"Patrick Loughrey, Goldsmiths Warden, said: “Goldsmiths is deeply rooted in New Cross, a vibrant area, already known for its creative spirit. We’re very excited to launch our New Cross Road project with Meanwhile Space and offer a new destination for creativity, innovation and enterprise to flourish.”
"Costumiers Prangsta will remain open while receiving structural improvements before
the renovation begins. Independently of this scheme, a new café is set to open in the space recently vacated by Café Crema.
"Work on the project is to begin later this month after Meanwhile Space signed an agreement to lease from Goldsmiths to operate the enterprise incubation scheme once the renovation works are complete. The renovations are due to be completed in the New Year.
"Funding for the renovation comes from an award of up to £430,000 to Meanwhile Space by the Department for Communities and Local Government – a figure matched by Goldsmiths.
"To help further explain the plans Meanwhile Space is hosting an exhibition at 310 New Cross Road, from 16 – 19 June 2015. The exhibition will be open 12-5pm daily with a late closing of 7pm on Thursday 18 June. All are welcome to drop in to find out more and inform the future of this project.
"Project Designers Ecos Maclean, Designers will be holding an informal co-design session for all interested parties from 12-4pm on 16 June. Come along for a chance to have direct input into the design process."