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Abandoned Hackney toilet to get ‘village hall’ transformation

PUBLISHED: 09:46 22 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:52 23 March 2016

The Clapton Commons group outside the dilapidated loo. Photo Kristin Perers

The Clapton Commons group outside the dilapidated loo. Photo Kristin Perers

Archant

A public loo that’s been left to rot for three decades will soon be given a new lease of life, when it is converted into an “old fashioned village hall”.

The bid to revamp the 700 square foot dilapidated toilet block in Clapton Common, Upper Clapton has given the green light by Hackney Council’s planning sub-committee.

Now the alliance of community groups behind the project, Clapton Commons, needs to raise about £70,000 to kit it out into a village hall, community kitchen and café.

The group, which includes Clapton Terrace Residents’ Association and St Thomas Church – has nicknamed the former toilet block in Upper Clapton “Liberty Hall”, a play on its mock-Tudor look.

Vicar William Campbell-Taylor said: “This public toilet block has been abandoned for 20 or 30 years, there were one or two people I’ve met who remember it as a functioning toilet, they have happy memories of relieving themselves there.

“It’s a sweet little building that needs love and attention to bring it back into life.

“It is unusual to set up a community hall in a toilet block, but these blocks are being converted all over London into things like bars and bakeries.”

He added: “We want to put the common back into Clapton Commons and provide a space where people can come together and get to know their neighbours.

“We are very excited, and positive about it, I think it’ll provide a high street focal point for people to meet and deliberate on matters of importance.

“So often people in London lead isolated lives and we want to broker relationships between individuals and across communities, around the central importance of food.”

Hackney Council which owns the building has promised bring it into “useable order” by making it watertight and connecting utilities, but the group needs to now raise around £70,000.

Chris Vaughan, who helped turn St John at Hackney church into a music venue, and Kate Joseph, are going to run the café.

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