Greenwich Council could sell its historic Borough Hall in west Greenwich to a theatre company as part of a deal to create a “performing arts hub”, papers for a council meeting reveal.
The council had wanted to operate the Borough Hall, home to Greenwich Dance until last year, as a “joint venture” but has now abandoned the scheme as too complex and expensive and is looking at an outright sale, a report to a scrutiny committee says.
“Discussions are ongoing with a theatre organisation who will invest significant sums of money to restore the building for future generations,” the paper says.
“Proposals for an outright sale to a theatre organisation, along with other options, are actively being evaluated. A sale option would no longer involve the £5m of preparatory investment envisaged with the original 2013 proposal.”
Opened as part of the former Greenwich Town Hall in 1939, the striking Borough Hall was part of the headquarters of the former Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich until it was merged with Woolwich in 1965 when London government was reorganised. Designed by Clifford Culpin, the Grade II-listed building was described by Nikolaus Pevsner, the art historian, as “the only town hall of any London borough to represent the style of our time adequately”.
The building was still used by Greenwich Council for many years after, but the old town hall is now used by the Greenwich School of Management while the Borough Hall was used as a base for Greenwich Dance. In 2013, a plan to move Greenwich Theatre into the site was dropped after opposition from the theatre.
Greenwich Dance moved out of the building last year after it lost funding from Arts Council England, saying the building was “increasingly not fit for our purposes”. It is now based at Charlton House. The hall was briefly squatted after the organisation left.
The report to the regeneration, transport and culture scrutiny panel also gives a date for the completion of the long-delayed project to move Woolwich’s Waterfront leisure centre to General Gordon Square – 2024/25 – and announces that a consultation will be launched soon to find a name for the £31m Woolwich Creative District in Berkeley Homes’ Royal Arsenal development.
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