The Phoenix is Rising at Battersea Arts Centre

The Phoenix is Rising at Battersea Arts Centre

Two years ago, on 13 March 2015, a fire destroyed the Grand Hall at BAC. Next year, it will re-open with a Phoenix Season of shows and events inspired by its 125-year history.



From a mass vow-renewing ceremony with couples who have tied the knot in the Grand Hall to bringing back the annual Christmas lunch once laid on for pensioners in the borough, BAC are looking for ideas for celebratory public events to form part of the Grand Hall’s opening season. Your idea could be inspired by a personal memory or by a moment in its radical history.

Need inspiration? Browse these Grand Hall memories collected after the fire and visit BAC over the next 6 weeks to explore an interactive installation created by artists Anna Beecher and Kirsty Harris in collaboration with local school children and Wandsworth residents. Celebrate the history of this incredible public space and look forward to its future.

You can submit your event idea by tweeting @battersea_arts #BACPhoenix.

Read more about the Battersea Arts Centre Phoenix Centre on their website or in this article from The Guardian, featuring images of the restorative work, and details of the fire that destroyed the Grand Hall.


Book a hassle free MOT at Wandsworth Council’s test centre

Book a hassle free MOT at Wandsworth Council’s test centre

Wandsworth offers motorists fully approved MOT tests on cars and vans to ensure they are roadworthy and safe to drive.

And because the centre only carries out tests and doesn’t offer repairs, drivers can rest assured there’ll be no hidden extras or bogus recommendations for unnecessary work.

As a result the pass rate for vehicles tested by the council is higher than at some commercial garages.

Owners can make appointments Mondays to Fridays between 8am and 4pm. To book an appointment email or call (020) 8871 6761.

For more information, visit

Wandsworth’s average council tax bill to remain the lowest in the country

Wandsworth’s average council tax bill to remain the lowest in the country

The council executive backed the 2017/18 budget plan at a meeting earlier this week.

The report will now go before the full meeting of the council on March 8 for final approval.

If voted through, the council’s share of the tax rate would increase by 3.99 per cent, 2 per cent of which will be ring-fenced to fund social care.

The Mayor of London has announced plans to increase his share on the bill by 1.5 per cent and the Wimbledon and Putney Common Conservators have agreed a rise of 6.1 per cent in the levy they charge for the upkeep of this green space. This charge applies to 27,090 homes surrounding the commons and the increase amounts to £1.64 per property for the year.

Guy Senior, council finance spokesman, said:

“Like most councils we propose a modest increase in our tax rate for the coming year to help protect vital front line services from the impact of reduced government funding. Thanks to many years of prudent and robust financial management our average bills will likely remain the lowest in the country despite the increase.

“We continue to lead the way in developing new and innovative ways of reducing our spending, including our staff sharing arrangement with Richmond Council which is now helping us provide the same high quality services at a much reduced cost. We have also received a £13.2m new homes bonus as a direct reward for our successful regeneration and home building efforts. This money is being used to protect investment in local services and is just one of the ways our residents are benefiting from new investment in the borough.”

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A Night at SouthSider Cocktail Club in Battersea

A Night at SouthSider Cocktail Club in Battersea

The SouthSider Cocktail Club opened in 2013, and can be found on Battersea Rise, sandwiched between the Thai Garden Restaurant and Kalyana Spa. The club has a cool Mexican, Day of the Dead décor theme, with sugar skulls adorning the walls and moody, intimate lighting.

Cosy leather booths line the walls of the club, which has three sections; a main seating and dance floor area centred around the DJ table, the bar, which occupies the length of one side, and a further private room at the back.

We went on a Saturday night, and the atmosphere was relaxed and fun. This is a place for the young professional, the hipster alike, where party people and sophisticates rub shoulders as they enjoy the music and drinks.

DJ Goldenchild, the resident DJ on Saturday nights from 8 ‘til late, keeps the crowd on their feet with his mix of old school R&B classics and well-known anthems. Sip on a delicious cocktail named after him – just order a “Goldenchild” at the bar, and one of four mixology artists will whip you up a tropical concoction complete with gold-sprayed pineapple topper!


Dj Goldenchild

The bar is well stocked with a backlit wall of spirits and mixers, and fresh garnishes, from herbs to toasted marshmallows! The cocktail list is extensive, and each drink is a work of art – made with care and flair by friendly bartenders, who are quick to make recommendations if you just can’t choose.

The club fills up quickly in the evening, so it is advisable to book in advance if you would like to secure a booth. If you arrive later in the evening, without a booking, you will find yourself part of a happy crowd, on the dance floor.

Visit the SouthSiders website here, or visit the bar at
56 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1EG


Northcote Library Plans Unveiled

Northcote Library Plans Unveiled

Residents living in and around Northcote Road in Battersea are being asked for their views on plans to build a bigger and better library and replacement community hall in their neighbourhood.

The council is currently holding an informal, preliminary stage consultation on proposals that could eventually see the existing Northcote Library replaced with a larger, better facility offering a wider range of library and community services just a stone’s throw away.

The plans would see a modern three storey library incorporating an exciting children’s library complete with buggy parking space, enlarged study accommodation, self serve kiosks for book loans, upgraded computer and digital learning areas and a coffee and drinks outlet next to the section containing newspapers, magazine and periodicals.

This new library would be built almost directly opposite the existing one on land currently occupied by council-owned garages at Staplehurst Court and Chatham Hall.

The development would also include community space to replace that currently offered at Chatham Hall and introduce a new business suite on its second floor offering small local businesses state-of-the-art communications technologies, adaptable work spaces and meeting rooms for hire.

If the plans were to proceed the current library would remain fully open to the public until the new one is ready to open its doors.

The council’s community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “We are holding these informal and very early stage discussions with local people to gauge the level of support for these plans.

“We have arranged some drop-in sessions at Northcote Library in the coming days and weeks so that residents can find out more about these proposals and then tell us what they think.

“Our intention is to provide a fantastic brand new modern library with a much greater range of services than is possible in the existing library building.

“The current library was built in 1969 and by today’s standards, is terribly inefficient in its use of space and its layout. At a time when demand for library services is growing, we want to improve and expand the facilities to better meet the meet the needs of local people.”

The cost of building the new library would be met by also constructing and selling 17 residential units spread across both sites. This would mean that local council tax payers would not have to pay a penny towards their new library.

Nine flats would be built as part of the new library development while another eight, plus retail space for two shops, would be provided on the existing library site.

Cllr Cook added: “This is a sensible and cost effective use of the council’s property portfolio. It means we can provide much needed new homes for Londoners plus a modern new library without having to raise council tax.

“At a time when many councils in London and elsewhere are closing down libraries and curtailing library services to save money we are looking to expand and improve our provision to give our residents a bigger and better Northcote library that’s fit for the 21st century.”

The current library building’s flaws include restricted access to its first floor children’s library, no room to safely and securely store buggies, no space to provide computer access on the ground floor, obsolete and inflexible shelving which does not make the best use of the available space, the building is poorly ventilated and lacking natural light and inadequate toilet and baby changing facilities.

The new residential accommodation will be car free as the area already boasts good transport links. This means people who move into these properties will not be eligible to buy parking permits so as not to add pressure on existing parking provision.

Information leaflets outlining the proposals are to be distributed throughout the area and there will be information boards installed at Northcote Library until Sunday, March 5.

Drop-in sessions are also being held at the library giving local residents the chance to ask questions face-to-face. These sessions will be held on the following date and times

  • Thursday, February 9 between 5pm and 8pm
  • Saturday, February 11 from 10am to 2pm
  • Wednesday, February 22, 5pm to 8pm
  • Saturday, February 25 between 10am and 2pm.

Residents who cannot attend these drop-in sessions can call (020) 7566 6463 to find out more or email Information is also available at

* The popularity of Wandsworth’s library service – and the need to keep pace with the needs of local residents – was highlighted by recent figures which showed that last year was another record year for local libraries with the largest number of book issues in the capital.

The figures from public service accountancy body CIPFA show that in 2015/2016, Wandsworth residents were London’s most dedicated library users, borrowing more than 1.4m books.

Service improvements and branch upgrades have been key to this success.

Earlsfield Library has been completely redecorated, Battersea Library has been upgraded and the children’s library at Tooting has been completely refurbished. Work has now started on a brand new Wandsworth Town  library while plans are being drawn up to replace another two branches at York Gardens and Roehampton with new state-of-the-art buildings offering a wider range of services.

There has also been investment in new e-resources and software, new systems to help people get the latest books as quickly and easily as possible. Link-ups with other organisations including Citizens Advice Wandsworth have enabled people to access other public services in their local branch.

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Royal Marine Reserves to parade through Wandsworth town centre before receiving Freedom of Borough award at Wandsworth Town Hall

Royal Marine Reserves to parade through Wandsworth town centre before receiving Freedom of Borough award at Wandsworth Town Hall

Royal Marine reservists will parade through Wandsworth town centre on Saturday 28th January 2017 in recognition of being awarded a Freedom of the Borough award.

Volunteers serving their country from the Royal Marines Reserve unit, whose headquarters are in Merton Road in Southfields, will take to the streets on Saturday January 28 in celebration of their links to Wandsworth.

Freedom of the Borough is an award given only in exceptional circumstances where an individual or organisation has demonstrated outstanding achievements in their borough.

The Royal Marines Reserve will be the third from the country’s armed forces to receive the award in recent years.

The 2nd Battalion Royal Tank Regiment (2RTR) received it in 2011 while another reserve unit, the London Regiment, based in Clapham Junction, did so in 1992.

The unit’s commanding officer Lt Col Ed Moorhouse said: “It is a great privilege that has been bestowed upon the Royal Marines Reserve City of London by the granting and exercising of the Freedom of the Borough of Wandsworth.

“Since arriving in the borough in 2011, we have had unfaltering support from the borough council and its local residents.

“We are hugely proud of being part of Wandsworth. Over the last five years ranks from RMR City of London have deployed to the Middle East and in support of the Fleet on operations and have trained from the jungles of Central America to the Arctic Circle.

“An integrated and dynamic reserve force that supports and complements both the regular Royal Marines and Royal Navy, they remain ready to meet the complex operational and environmental challenges of the 21st Century.”

The streets will be filled with 160 reservists, veterans and cadets, who will be accompanied by the Band of the Royal Marines.

The parade will start at Wandsworth Town station and pass along York Road, into Fairfield Street, then on to Wandsworth Town Hall where they will be formally awarded the Freedom of the Borough.

The Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Richard Field said: “This award pays tribute to the bravery and dedication of these volunteers who have served their nation with great distinction as part of this famous and historic Royal Naval force.

“We are immensely proud to be associated with them.”

The parade is due to start at 2.40pm and will last for about 10 minutes.

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