Tooley Street: council considers cafe conversion for closed canteen

The former staff canteen at Southwark Council's Tooley Street headquarters could be opened to the public as a cafe to help the local authority raise more revenue from the building.

Tooley Street: council considers cafe conversion for closed canteen
160 Tooley Street

The possibility of a new public cafe at 160 Tooley Street was revealed by finance boss Cllr Stephanie Cryan during Monday's overview & scrutiny committee session examining the council's budget proposals for the next three years.

In the 2025-2026 year the council hopes to raise an extra £1 million a year from rental income at the Tooley Street building, though in the short term it's expecting a £300,000 hit in income as the NHS reduces the amount of office space it rents from the local authority.

The former cafeteria for council staff is at the corner of Tooley Street and Barnham Street and could be accessed directly from the street.

"We're looking to see whether that could be viable ... to rent out for a cafe," said Cllr Cryan.

'Encouraging' news from Courage Yard

Earlier in the meeting officials were quizzed about the number of empty shops in the council-owned Courage Yard complex on Shad Thames, with director of planning and growth Steve Platts announcing that all the vacant units are currently 'under offer' from prospective new tenants.

Lib Dem Cllr Irina von Wiese, who raised the Courage Yard issue at the meeting said: "The ‘Greenhouse’, a flagship commercial building in the middle of Courage Yard, has been empty for years. As a local resident, I’ve seen no signs of it being occupied in the near future.

"It is emblematic of Southwark’s lack of initiative and urgency in generating from its commercial assets to invest in vital services. 

"The noises coming from the council this year are encouraging, but they will still need to be more ambitious, and it should not have taken this long."

Courage Yard
Tags: Politics & local government, Southwark, Food & drink, Business

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