New Hammersmith centre gets go-ahead
How the new Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith will eventually look
An ambitious plan to expand and modernise the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith has been given the go ahead by its local authority.
Two years ago the centre faced closure after the local council decided to sell off the Blacks’ Road building to help it offset budget problems.
That news was met with widespread objection from Irish people living in the area and eventually the council decided to offer the building to the board. A £500,000 grant from the Irish government helped the board secure the property and a further deal with Shepherds Bush Housing Group to lease 24 rooms in the upstairs section of the new development.
The next phase for the board of is the completion of the freehold purchase on the current site at Black Road. It is hoped that the last event will take place there on St Patrick’s night next March, a concert by instrumentalist Liam O’Conner is on the cards.
The Chairman of the Board, Jim O’Hara, said: “This is great news for us and also for the Irish community in Britain; it heralds the beginning of a new era for the Cultural Centre. Having secured planning approval, we can quickly move forward to complete the purchase of the freehold of the site in the next few months and finalise plans for the construction of the new building next year.
“We can now look forward to the creation of a new purpose built Centre which will allow us to grow and develop our programme of activities and services. Very importantly, we will have a new building in a prime location in central London which will be held in perpetuity for the benefit of the Irish community in Britain.
In March it will move into temporary accommodation at nearby Cambridge House while demolition of the existing building and construction of the new phase takes place. It is expected to take around 18 months to finish.