The Lake Gallery (formerly CGP London)
Dilston Gallery (formerly Dilston Grove)
Marking its 35th anniversary, the contemporary art organisation based in the heart of Southwark Park, known as CGP London (Cafe Gallery Projects) has changed its name to Southwark Park Galleries, comprising the Lake Gallery and Dilston Gallery.

Southwark Park Galleries is set across two contrasting venues: the Lake Gallery is a ‘white cube’ gallery with a community garden, while Dilston Gallery isa Grade 2 listed, cavernous deconsecrated church dating back to 1911.

Commenting on the name change, director Judith Carton said: “After 35 years situated in the heart of London’s beautiful Southwark Park, our trustees, team and gallery family have agreed that now is the time to rename the organisation to better reflect our identity and position within the art world, our unique location, and the longstanding value of the rich offer we provide our local community.

“We have grown from an artist collective and DIY project space into an internationally established centre for progressive commissioning and courageous public engagement, with our continued commitment to free access to cultural excellence for all.”

This month Surrey Docks Farm started work on Phase 1 of its Riverfront Development, thanks to funding allocated by Southwark Council from levies on local developments. By the end of the year the farm will be offering a range of new and enhanced community facilities with stunning riverfront views looking across to Canary Wharf, providing new activity spaces, lettable rooms and outdoor areas all year round.

Architects PUP have designed the development and act as contract administrator; John Perkins Projects is the contractor; and Hollybrook Homes have kindly funded two cabins for the duration so the Farm can continue to run its education programmes and classes.

The farm’s River Room is being re-designed, upgraded, refitted and extended with a glass orangery to provide a quality, flexible, multi-use space for a wide range of uses – for schools’ programmes, classes, meetings, conferences, birthday parties and events. The adjacent three storey tower, burnt out in an arson attack over a decade ago, is being converted. On the ground floor: a Farm Kitchen providing a training resource for all ages promoting cooking with fresh produce, good diets and healthy eating and a catering resource for events held in the River Room. On the first floor: an office to accommodate the farm’s growing staff team. On the top floor: a calm, flexible activity space with a fine view overlooking the Thames – for meetings, arts and crafts and therapeutic sessions.

To complete the development, the farm is currently fundraising for Phase 2 to open up its river frontage in its unique setting by the Thames. Its new main entrance will then be through the gates onto the Thames Path where the public will be led along widened, paved entrances into the Farm and its new riverfront facilities. There will be new paving, landscaping and gardens providing a special space for sitting out and socialising and for community events. Gates and a retractable trellis fence will be installed to enable all the new riverfront facilities provided in Phase 1 to be available for evening classes as well as day time use by securing the rest of the Farm and its animals.

Cllr Johnson Situ, cabinet Member for growth, development and planning commented: “This is really good news for the borough’s only city farm. Here in Southwark Council we are delighted to have awarded the Farm one of the earliest Community Infrastructure Levy (CILs) amounts to enable them to make all these superb improvements. This award is a great example of the council’s refreshed approach to local CIL which will see the development of Community Investment Plans to support growth across the borough. As part of the award, the Farm will also contribute to Southwark being an Age Friendly borough with further opportunities for older and younger people alike as well as new inter-generational projects”.

Cllr Jasmin Ali, Cabinet Member for children’s and adult services commented: “Speaking personally, I cannot wait to bring my family down there to see the transformation.  We have also granted the Farm a new 35 year lease at a charitable rent so that these new education and community resources are secured for the long term and the Farm can enhance and develop its special offers for residents”.

As the borough’s only city farm, with its gates open seven days a week and free entrance, the farm will provide its 50,000 visitors a year with an enhanced visitor experience and renewed opportunities to learn about and engage with all aspects of a working farm.

Earlier this year we reported on plans to introduce charges for car parking in Southwark Park and other green spaces in the borough.

The council is currently running a public consultation (till 13 May) and Cllr Rebecca Lury – the deputy council leader whose portfolio includes parks – insisted at a recent overview & scrutiny committee meeting (video above) that no final decision to introduce charges has been made.

However, income from the new fees is included in the council’s budget for the current financial year.

A £2 an hour charge for car parking is to be introduced in Southwark Park from 1 April this year.

Southwark Council hopes to raise £200,000 a year by introducing car parking charges in the borough’s open spaces.

There are 90 car parking spaces in Southwark Park. At present, car parking is free but there is a four-hour time limit.

The new parking charge will be payable by phone, text or app.

As part of the same package of measures, the council is planning to spend £28,000 on resurfacing and drainage works at Southwark Park, as well as installing new signage to advise motorists of the charges and how to pay.

Further details are available in this report.

Southwark Council says that around 20,000 people attended this year’s Southwark Park fireworks display.

The council says that 96 per cent of visitors were Southwark residents who’d claimed their free tickets to the show, and 40 per cent of people came from the neighbourhoods immediately surrounding Southwark Park.

Cllr Rebecca Lury, cabinet member for culture, leisure, equalities and communities, said: “Fireworks night is my favourite night of the year so I am delighted that we were able to, once again, provide a free fireworks event for the people of Southwark.

“The fireworks this year were absolutely stunning and it was lovely to see so many local people and families enjoying the show.”

Councillors will decide next Tuesday whether or not to grant planning permission for the controversial ‘Alice in Winterland‘ commercial event due to take over part of Southwark Park from November to January.

The scheme is on the agenda for planning sub-committee B on Tuesday 30 October.

In his report to the committee, planning officer Alex Cameron concludes: “Overall, given the temporary nature of the proposal, it is not considered that it would affect the long term openness of Southwark Park and would provide facilities for outdoor recreation. While the development is not strictly an appropriate one on [Metropolitan Open Land], it is acceptable  considering it would be temporary and the benefits to the local community.”

Nearly 500 people have signed a petition opposing the event, but others – including the Friends of Southwark Park – are supportive. 

Full details of the planning application are at 18/AP/2766.

A large-scale commercial event will take over the northern part of Southwark Park between November and early January.

According to the licensing application, “Southwark Park Lantern & Lights Festival is a unique lantern experience themed around Alice in Wonderland. The experience will take place in the Northern section of Southwark Park. Lanterns are being designed around the popular children’s classic, Alice in Wonderland and will include a walk through the story created in lantern format.

“The event has been designed to be interactive using slides and other audio visual effects to explore the lanterns. There will also be food and beverage traders, entertainers on the bandstand and special effects. The event will be ticketed and both pre-sale and on the door tickets will be available.

“The event is created by Things to Do Ltd. Unusual Expo have designed the lanterns and Continental Drifts will manage the event.

“It is likely there will be two bars at the event which will be in two separate areas. There will be on bar at the bandstand area as well as one location on the lights route.”