Monster 99p store to dominate Hither Green Lane

Hither Green Lane, 1913.


Hither Green Lane, circa 1930.

Hither Green Lane, October 2009.

When a cinema building is transformed into a 99p store you can legitimately say that the area is going to the dogs and something must be done about it.
It surely doesn’t bring the area up and it’s a gross misuse of what once was a great community asset, but let’s look at the positive, at least it’s not being converted into 6 flats, it has planning consent for conversion but due to the known issues with the housing market there probably wouldn’t be any profit in it.
A couple of months ago me and other 48 residents successfully objected to an especially inappropriate planning application for a modern block with 9 flats on the site and now the developer who is not extravagantly wealthy and is stuck with this particularly ill-judged property investment probably needs to make some money to stay afloat, so a commercial tenant may do the job, let’s try to make this new shop only a transition towards something much better and that this area desperately needs.

Let’s free him from his burden! Let’s acquire the building and make it into an Arts and Community Centre. I’ve been in touch with the developer, he said he’d sell it to us. We’ve involved the Council as well as well as other potential funders, including private groups. If the stars align correctly it could be done.

There is a very big argument in favour of this initiative (it started here). That corner is the most important location on Hither Green Lane, as in 2006 the Hither Green Urban Design and Development Framework also found out.
It’s the site of the original ‘Hither Green’ that gives the name to the area and still holds the key to the success of it.
The area doesn’t have any cultural offer and doesn’t have any space for performances or any community activity apart from the Church.

In support of the initiative to transform the former Park Cinema, now 99p store into an Arts and Community Centre this Sunday 18th October we have organized a cinema day, with added free drama workshops for children in the morning.
Come along, there’s a smashing program and a rare opportunity to meet your neighbours in a relaxed foyer in between films. We’ll also have a fully licenced bar. Doors open at 2:30pm with tea and cakes from the Golden Afternoon Tea Company, this will be followed by a screening of My Fair lady.
At 6pm there will be Buster Keaton’s the Balloonatic with live piano accompaniment, that will be followed at 7pm by a recently reissued Ealing production of great interest (I proposed this film), Pool of London (1951), a murky noir in the fascinating setting of post war Docklands and that broke a taboo with the first ever interracial relationship in a British Film.
This event takes place at the Firemaster building, 174-176 Hither Green Lane, entrance from Lanier Road.

One final point, this initiative is not something coming from the Libdems, it’s a community initiative, in fact people from all sorts of political persuasion are involved. I started it in my personal capacity before taking a final decision to run for Council and did it because I thought that it was necessary for the area.
Hither Green Cinema FINAL 150 dpi


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6 Responses to “Monster 99p store to dominate Hither Green Lane”

  1. S Ali Says:

    i read each and every word written above. What do u all people think about construction of a college or a language school at this place.It will bring a good aspect to building and area as well.

  2. Max Says:

    Hi Ali,

    I was about to write about the planning application for change of use into a language school, I spotted it a couple of weeks ago and I think the decision is due before the half of January.
    I’d love to know more about the proposal but in principle I haven’t got anything against a language school there. If properly set and run it can be a very good use.
    Do you know more about it?

  3. Max Says:

    And by the way, a language school activity would fit very well within an Arts and Community Centre. There could be ways to make both activities happen and make them more successful that they’d be without each other if there was a will to come together.

  4. S Ali Gill Says:

    Hi Max
    thanks for a kind reply. I actualy don’t know very much about language school but i agree that it will be better than wasting this beautiful location by keeping it unused. And what do you think about a college of business or accountancy studies here later on? Or can you mention some other options that will suite here.

  5. tony Says:

    Hither Green as a whole is the land that goverment forgot.

    There is nothing for the youngsters.

    There is nothing for the aged.

    An Arts and Community Centre is hardly going to make a difference.

    More involvement should come from the people in the area,as to what would be needed to lift the area,

    which has been left for far to long.

    Shame really but that is the country we all now live in.

  6. Max Says:

    I agree about the lack of community spaces for all ages, youngsters, elders, and those in between, but I also believe that an Arts and Community Centre would make a lot of difference indeed.

    Lots of people want to make things happen, but we’re in a Catch 22 situation – there are no spaces for activities, and this means that there are no activities for a space to host.
    So, how can people get involved if there’s nowhere to do it? That’s why I believe that we need an Arts and Community Centre.

    The Hither Green Hall society, which was set up by myself and a few others, is active, even in absence of an appropriate space in the area, but it’s an uphill struggle, obviously we’d be able to do much more if there was an appropriate space.

    But there will soon be a space, I haven’t written about it yet, but St Swithun’s Church Hall refurbishment is well under way and soon Hither Green will have a community space for performances and events. Hooray!

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