Work set to begin redeveloping building and adding 24 new homes
The long term future of the Irish Cultural Centre in Blacks Road, Hammersmith is secure after completion of the sale of the building to its board of directors.
And the centre says the existing building will shortly be closing its doors so redevelopment can begin.
The final sale comes two years after Hammersmith & Fulham Council decided to sell the centre along with several other buildings in order to reduce its historic debt.
After a fund-raising campaign by the centre and a grant from the Irish government of £550,000, the sale was agreed with the council and planning permission granted for redevelopment of the building.
The existing building will now be demolished and redeveloped into a part five storey, part seven storey, building to provide a new community centre on the ground and first floor and 24 self-contained flats from the second floor upwards. A new café, bar, concert hall, offices, classrooms and rooms, available for hire, will also be built.
Jim O’Hara, Chairman of the Irish Cultural Centre, says: "We are delighted that we have now completed the purchase of the Irish Cultural Centre from Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
" During the last two years we have been working constructively with the council and its officers in order to secure the future of the Centre and preserve the cultural and educational programmes which we offer both to the Irish and local community and, also, to the wider population in London.
"We can now look forward to the construction of a brand new purpose built Centre within the next two years and our partnership with Shepherds Bush Housing Association means that additional housing will become available within the borough.
" I wish to thank the Irish government for its vital support to us in our efforts to secure the necessary funds to purchase the building. I also wish to thank the council, on behalf of everyone involved in the Centre, for the cooperative manner in which we have proceeded together. "
Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council Deputy Leader, said: " This a fantastic deal for both the Irish community and local taxpayers as we have managed to secure the future of this much-loved community centre and improve the council’s finances at the same time.
" The council is immensely proud of the borough's rich Irish heritage so it is particularly pleasing that we have found such a positive solution. The future is bright for the Irish Cultural Centre and we all hope that Irish eyes will continue to smile in Hammersmith for a long time to come."
April 5, 2013