Our new building project is currently 2months behind schedule. Pre-construction clearance work began with the garden closing to the public in October. We had planned for building work to begin in Mid-November - this date, in part, in response to council warnings that a large part of the project funding could be lost if work did not begin by mid-October (the funding is secure). We are now delayed by extended negotiations with the council concerning some of the conditions for the new lease for the garden - until we have the lease we are unable to contract for, or begin, the building works.
The garden has been without a lease for a number of years. Camden council had felt unable to award one until the design and purpose of a new garden building were confirmed. We had expected the issue of the new lease to be straight forward once planning consent had been awarded, having been in discussions with various council officers for a number of years concerning this. Council concerns were raised in October about our plans for community activities, children's education sessions and income generation by commercial activities, and how these activities could restrict public access to the garden at times.
As the garden's core grant funding was removed in Jan 2012, we feel it is essential for us to negotiate the necessary lease conditions to allow us to secure a sustainable financial future for the charity, to support the development of our community activities and to continue to be the West End's only independent Community Garden.
We are presently in negotiations with the Lettings team and hope to be offered terms that will allow us to move ahead soon.