Over recent years we have been working on our Not for Profit project to convert a building in the heart of Carshalton's heritage conservation area into a mixed use facility to benefit local residents for many years to come.
Please see the link buttons to to find out more about:
- the community facilities we are developing,
- the projects on site you can get involved with,
- details of the 7 residential apartments for sale (to help pay for the project) and
- the 2 additional apartments soon to be available to rent.
The Story of Our Project
A short walk up the drive from the ponds reveals an area so tranquil and beautiful that it’s hard to imagine we’re in greater London – this is where our project at The Lodge is located - in Carshalton’s nature reserve next to Honeywood Museum surrounded by the gorgeous Ecology Centre grounds.
Pretty much everyone we spoke to agreed that protecting a historic building in the heart of Carshalton’s Heritage area was a good idea. They particularly wanted to see the site used in all manner of creative ways by the community for years to come. So, this is what we set out to achieve - and it’s taken a lot longer than any of us could possibly have imagined.
There have been numerous twists and turns along the way but now we’re nearly there. All the plans, suggestions and ideas put forward are coming together and things are looking good.
Our project is in part a response to concerns raised by local residents regarding the future of one of Carshalton’s historic buildings. Back in 2012 we all heard that the local Council could no longer afford to retain many of Carshalton’s historic buildings originally purchased for public benefit in the 1940s. Like many local residents we were concerned about what would happen to these buildings. The Council openly asked for practical suggestions on how these buildings could be protected and used for public benefit in future, given they could no longer afford to keep them.
A group of us got together and came up with the idea of a mixed use development for The Lodge site. It was clear that such a development would mean splitting the property into a number of unique residential apartments, which would then be sold to cover the costs of converting the rest of the site into community and charity facilities. This was a pragmatic approach which we put forward to a public local area committee meeting attended by well over 100 local residents.
We were encouraged by the exceptionally positive reception our idea received. People were enthused by the idea of using the buildings for a whole range of community benefits as well as our proposal to take steps to protect our local heritage. Residents were also very keen that the project would be socially entrepreneurial and self-financing in the long-term.
As we took our ideas forward it became clear that people valued the concept of an “innovation ecosystem”, where the project would help to facilitate many other initiatives and charitable activities for the benefit of the local community. This really struck a chord and we got 98% approval ratings in our public consultation for the project.
Of course, a huge amount of detailed work has gone on behind the scenes to make the project happen. This is often difficult to communicate as the information is technical and the detail is not necessarily of wider interest. Our concern from the outset has been to engage professionals who have extensive experience and the technical skills to advise us. The whole project is set up in such a way so as to ensure that legally any financial gains must be channeled back for community benefit ONLY.
We wanted the best architects, so we used a firm who have 40 years of experience working with heritage buildings. They have provided professional management all the way, from the outset of the initial feasibility study through to where we are now and have been a massive help in putting their seal of approval on the outcome. The result is really very exciting, and we are sure that community facility users and future residents will love being here for many decades to come.
It is very true to say that we have had our fair share of frustrations and problems. The project has suffered from construction delays which have been completely and contractually outside of our control; we are now well behind on our original planned project timeline, which has been of great concern. Whilst we have had numerous problems to overcome (including Covid-19), the slow progress with works has meant that our architects have inspected works in even more detail, at all stages of the project. With insurance in place, snagging works pretty much completed and local authority building control approval secured, we’re now ready to move forward.
We would love to hear from community organisations, charities, artists, social enterprises and anyone with an interest in using the facilities at The Lodge. We are happy to arrange visits by appointment as we make the finishing touches to the current phase of works. You are welcome to pop down and have a look.
If you would like to help with our plans or have further ideas on working with us to create a ‘community innovation ecosystem’ at The Lodge, we’d love to hear from you.
And we would be very grateful if you could share the news about this project using your contacts.