Camden Council’s Planning Committee has unanimously approved plans to develop the historic premises of the London Irish Centre. The Centre, which opened its doors in 1955, has been the Irish heart of London for over 65 years. The new space will enable the London Irish Centre to grow and diversify its award-winning community services and cultural programmes.
Responding to the welcome news, CEO Ellen Ryan said:
“This is fantastic news. The new Centre is needed now more than ever, as we grow and develop our social, community and cultural offering. We worked with the local community on the plans for the Centre, and their views are represented throughout the design. We will continue to work with them as we develop a sustainable building for the future.
We are particularly delighted to consolidate our roots in Camden. The Borough is a place of great significance to the Irish in London and we are very pleased to be investing in its future here.
Covid-19 has brought challenges, but we have managed to pivot to deliver some of our services online or in different ways. In the longer-term, we would like to move towards a hybrid model of a redeveloped centre, along with enhanced online programmes and services.”
The Centre looks forward to working very closely with all stakeholders and our neighbours on the creation of a beautiful community and cultural centre that Camden, London and the Irish community will be proud of, and one which will strengthen the close ties between London and Ireland.
The Centre would like to say a special thank you to funders and supporters, Camden Council; Councillors Simpson, Beale and the Camden Planning Committee, the Irish Government; The Irish Ambassador and the Irish Embassy; The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; Coffey Architects; Rolfe Judd Planning; Acumen-PS and the entire design team and pro-bono consultants, patrons Dermot O’ Leary and Ed Sheeran; London Irish Centre’s Chair Rosaleen Blair and the Board of Trustees, LIC ‘s Campaign and Development Committees, and the hard-working team of staff, advisors and volunteers.
Rosaleen Blair CBE, Chair of the London Irish Centre said:
“We are delighted that Camden Council has approved our application for planning permission. We would like to thank the Council as well as all our partners and others who have supported us in the process.
The new Centre will enrich the local area through the provision of accessible, high-quality spaces for community and cultural events, as well as enhancing a sense of community. London is home to a large and vibrant Irish community. Our plans will allow us to meet their needs and build a dynamic centre we can all be proud of.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“The development of the London Irish Centre will support the thriving Irish community in London and ensure that the space continues to serve as a centre of excellence, providing an inspirational exemplar of how a migrant group has become an integral part of the capital whilst maintaining strong connections to their heritage.”
Ambassador of Ireland, Adrian O’Neill, said:
“Today’s approval of the LIC’s development plans marks another important step in the journey of sustaining the Centre’s critical mission for the future. The Irish Government is proud of its support for this visionary plan and the Embassy looks forward to working with the Centre in delivering an exciting project that will benefit the Irish community in London – and the Camden neighbourhood – for many years to come.”
Dermot O’Leary, patron of the London Irish Centre, said:
“As patron, I am very pleased to get this exciting news. I really value the deep cultural richness through all of Camden. The borough is at the heart of the world’s most vibrant, diverse capital city and is a creative cultural powerhouse. Camden’s strengths lie in its combination of people and places, including a proud and creative Irish community. This development sets the LIC and Camden up for many more years of community, culture and connection.”
Phil Coffey, director of Coffey Architects, said:
“The opportunity to work closely with the local and Irish stakeholders has been a real honour over the past 18 months. The new building represents a real opportunity to bring people together and to engage in the social meaning of architecture. We are looking forward to delivering a home for the Irish community in London that represents a beacon of hope, joy, and good spirit during these difficult times.”
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Working within a relatively small footprint, the efficiency of the apartment refurbishment was paramount to the project, as well as the materials and craftsmanship.
The apartment was carved out of over 30,000 individually cut and laid cross-sectional blocks of European Oak, creating a contemporary insertion into a Grade II-listed former school classroom.
The blocks playfully nod to the Victorian heritage of the building, yet their meticulous application has created a granular richness resulting in a beautiful, calm and tranquil place to live.
So proud of this team and this scheme! Congrats to all! https://t.co/bDI8enncwS