Plans to demolish the Southwark Park café have been criticised by the Friends of Southwark Park, with calls for it to be turned into community space instead.
While the Friends are happy with the proposals for a new café, they have said it would be “short sighted” of the council to pull the current one down, and have started a petition.
The council have said they cannot afford to both build a new café and maintain the current one.
Patrick Kingwell, The Friends of Southwark Park secretary, said: “We are very pleased that Southwark Council is going to build a much-needed new cafe in Southwark Park. However, this good news is spoiled by the proposal to demolish the existing café.
“We believe that the current building is far from derelict and with a little investment and tender loving care could be put to useful park purposes.
“It could be a space for local schools and children’s groups when they visit the park; a centre for our bee and other park projects; and a space where we could put on a free access permanent display about the history of Southwark Park.”
Councillor Maisie Anderson, Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Parks and Leisure, said: “We welcome any feasible suggestions on how we can keep the old café building. Unfortunately, we cannot afford to do this ourselves, having already committed a £5.4m in investment to the new athletics track, new café and bringing the old nursery site back into use. The only way to retain the building would be to find a future use that can cover its own costs. We’ve discussed this issue with the Friends’ group already and look forward to hearing their ideas on a sustainable option for the building.”
To sign the petition, visit: