Aspire building in Churchill Gardens

Thank you for helping us shape the proposal better. We value every comment and are returning to the Planning Officer having made the following changes, inspired by you:

  • the new building will continue to be the home of the community café, as well as a new food related community project
  • we have removed the dog exercise area
  • we have moved the building, enabling the playground to return to almost its current space (15% loss overall, but with better play equipment so more children to get better play value out of it)
  • we have removed the access path
  • we have removed the additional fencing so the space feels less cluttered
  • we have made sure that the café is accessible on both sides – for people using the playground, and those in the park
  • after the Joy Café is demolished (following their move into the new building), we can widen the path and it will meet the crossing on Walpole Road, rather than cutting into the playground and running corner to corner. The event and free play space becomes larger and the areas more equal for all park users.
  • we have moved the growing space so it relates better to the building
  • the additional paths will be made out of coloured asphalt
  • the building will be clad in durable, secure, insulated metal panels with lots of windows so you can see through and into the building. You can enjoy the sunshine in colder months and have the awnings out for extra shade when it is too hot. We will make sure it is landscaped sympathetically with the help of local gardening volunteer groups.

Whilst we hear that many people would like the building to stay on its current footprint, or near to it, we’d like to explain our thinking.

Keeping the building where it is:

  • doesn’t solve the problem of corner aspect and access from Walpole Road and Churchill Road. The view from here will continue to be of the back of a building, rather than a view into the park. This will continue to be a corner that feels unsafe because it can’t been seen into and across
  • will mean we are unable to provide two terraces - one within the playground and one outside. This means it will continue to feel inaccessible to some people who don’t have children, or who have dogs
  • the current cafe would need to be closed for the duration of the building works - potentially putting staff at risk
  • the late afternoon sun shades where the terraces would be so it will continue to be cold and less inviting in the afternoons.

Moving the building to an off centre position will:

  • make sure the current cafe can operate during the build period
  • open up the entrance at Walpole Road so aspect will no longer be dark and view blocked by rear of building
  • terraces will enjoy sun all day and the building will be naturally shaded by tree
  • make the cafe accessible from two sides - both within the playground and from the main path. Both parents and other users (people without children, dog walkers) can feel confident and welcome
  • give the park a positive focal point
  • the cafe on the path is likely to enjoy increased footfall and be more sustainable
  • mean no resident significantly loses their view across the whole park
  • reference conservation themes - symmetrical and central similar to parks of the same era in London
  • provide social surveillance by residents on all 4 sides, increasing ownership of the building and park as a whole
  • ensure visibility is maximised on all levels, overview of play, ball court, events space, growing space
  • allow clear route to the crossing point on Walpole Road to encourage cycling and walking to school/work etc.

Walpole Churchill Gardens

Artist’s impression of the view from the corner of Walpole Road and Churchill Gardens. View from Borthwick Road.

The new plans are available to view in our document. If you would like to look at the plans in person, discuss this and comment further, please do pop along to the Joy Café on:

  • Saturday 17 October: 10am to 11am
  • Monday 19 October: 3pm to 4.30pm
  • Tuesday 20 October: 9.30am to 11.30am.

Alternatively, please email aspire@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.