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Loo for village hall bid

PUBLISHED: 10:15 11 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:15 11 March 2014

The disused toilet block

The disused toilet block

Archant

A bid to turn a dilapidated public loo into a village hall is being made by an alliance of Clapton’s community groups, who now want to find a foodie business partner in Hackney to make their dream a reality.

The old toilet block. Photo Adrian Holliday.The old toilet block. Photo Adrian Holliday.

Clapton Commons hopes to revamp the 700 square foot ex-public convenience in Clapton Common by the end of the year, and they need to find an individual, group or business to help shape the vision and make it a sustainable reality.

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. Last year Hackney Council – the toilets’ owners – approved its planning proposal to convert the building.

The council which is backing the plans, has promised bring the building into “useable order” by making it watertight and connecting utilities, and then any business partner will be able to fit it out accordingly.

Whether or not original features like the urinals will be retained as some kind of quirky homage to the building’s past use will be up to them.

An architect appointed by Clapton Commons has suggested removing some internal walls to transform the space into a single hall with a small kitchen and toilets, and the idea is local groups will be able to hire it out.

Clapton Commons spokesman, Father William Taylor from St Thomas’s Church, said: “The block has been derelict for as long as most people can remember, currently it’s boarded up.

“We want to see the Liberty serve the whole community – it’s on Common land and we want it to serve the common good.”

“It should be an attractive opportunity for a local business, given the many small food start ups that have already appeared in Clapton, and the high demand for retail space, especially as it’s a one of a kind building.”

The chosen business needs to have an offer which appeals to as wide a range of local people as possible, and will need to pay some of the rent.

The selection process will begin this spring, for more details call 020 8806 1463 or email fatherwilliamtaylor@hotmail.com.


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