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News - 23/02/2012

Preferred purchaser selected for Fulham Town Hall

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Fulham Town Hall is set to be transformed into a ‘quintessentially British’ lifestyle emporium after Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council agreed to sell the building to an American retail and leisure group.

Our Public Sector Advisory Services team has worked with H&F Council since February 2011 to dispose of the iconic Town Hall.

The council can no longer afford to run and maintain two town halls in both Hammersmith and Fulham, and has vowed to find a new owner for the Grade II listed Victorian Fulham Town Hall who will breathe fresh life into the building and conserve it for future generations.

Dory Ventures selected

After a comprehensive selection process, H&F Council has agreed to sell Fulham Town Hall to Dory Ventures.

Dory Ventures features Maclaren as its leading UK brand, recognised for its range of quality children’s products. Dory proposes a ‘quintessentially British’ lifestyle emporium that will support the flagship Maclaren showroom.

This will be accompanied by high quality, boutique shops that will showcase the smaller retailer, and will also feature Dory’s Laser Performance (sailing dinghies) and Albert Thurston brands, plus a restaurant. The upper floors will be extended and converted to provide 15 new residential units.

Respecting heritage for the Fulham community

In order to respect the iconic Town Hall’s heritage and ensure ongoing public access to the building, Dory proposes to maintain the former Council Chamber as an ‘educational bar’. Here, Fulham residents will be able to take part in public interest and safety demonstrations of Maclaren products, and the space will also be made available for community events and lectures – opening the doors of the refurbished Town Hall even wider to the Fulham community.

To provide a ‘sense of place’ for Fulham residents, within the central core of the retail arcade would be a wi-fi enabled “hub” café set in natural light from a new glass atrium. This area would be ideal for visitors keen to relax and enjoy the Town Hall’s architecture and history.

Dory’s scheme first went on show to the public at an exhibition held at the Town Hall last December. Here, some residents said they were sceptical of the retail element and questioned whether the Dory scheme would be sustainable long term.

Retail viability report commissioned

As a result, we and the council commissioned an independent report to assess the retail viability of the building and the retail market demand in Fulham. The findings indicate there is very real potential to grow retail in the town centre, and build on the destination attraction that Maclaren will create.

Cllr Nick Botterill, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “This exciting and innovative scheme will provide Fulham Town Hall with a new lease of life, while respecting the building’s rich historical character and public heritage. We are confident that this scheme will reinvigorate Fulham, improve the council's finances by significantly reducing our debt levels, create numerous jobs and launch a new era of prosperity for this famous building.” 

Dory to seek planning permission

Dory must now obtain both planning permission and Listed Building Consent for its proposed scheme, and will shortly be embarking on a programme of informal and formal town planning and stakeholder consultation. English Heritage and the council’s conservation team and architects have already engaged in detailed discussion with Dory’s professional team over specific aspects of the conversion.

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