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Posted by Kim Winter, Friday 8th January, 2016

Update on campaign for new education centre

Image: Nick Weedon

A huge thank you to everyone who signed our petition, on paper or online, to Lambeth Council to take action on the promise for a new education centre in Windmill Gardens.

Before Christmas representatives of the Friends and Holmewood Nursery were invited to a meeting with Councillor Jane Pickard and Lambeth Council officers to discuss the options for an education centre.

The Council clearly expressed a preference for expanding the existing building, but both the Friends and Holmewood Nursery made the case for separate buildings, based on the practicalities of adults and pre-school children sharing a space and the activity restrictions affecting potential revenue.

The Friends also reported on informal discussions with the planning department about the possibility of making an exception in the case of the windmill education building being sited on “green space”

• because of the unique nature of the Grade II* windmill and its significance for London as a whole and

• because of the history of a windmill building in the park from 1962-2003.

Lambeth Council has now agreed that the feasibility study should consider the following options:

• Providing an alternative location for new temporary building on site (proposal for where the former windmill building and park keepers work yard)

• Demolishing existing One O’Clock Club building and provide a larger, fit for purpose building for both organisations to use

• Expanding the current One O’Clock Club building to enable shared use

• Exploring alternative sites for a new building, such as Thames Water sites.

Other organisations who may have an interest in using a new building or participating in the education programme are also to be consulted, including Blenheim Gardens Resident Management Organisation,  the Windmill Cluster of primary schools, the Old Post Office Bakery, Toucan Employment and HMP Brixton.

The next meeting will be at the end of January.

Jean Kerrigan, Chair of the Friends of Windmill Gardens, said:

“The petition was really helpful in persuading Lambeth Council about the urgency of this project, so thank you to everyone who signed. We still have to sort out how the existing education programme can continue without a suitable venue, and we will continue to lobby for a new building as part of the feasibility study. But once we have an agreed timetable for the study, we can apply for funding to help us through the transition period.

“In the year of Brixton Windmill’s 200th anniversary, we hope that a new education centre will allow us to expand our education programme and develop new sources of income, such as regularly grinding and selling flour. Our aim is to ensure Brixton Windmill’s survival for the next 200 years!”