The independent London newspaper

Arts college wants to expand into former hardware shop

Hampstead Fine Arts College has been hiring space in a pub

11 November, 2016 — By Ella Jessel

RKP Hardware has closed down

A BELSIZE Park arts college so short of space it is holding lessons beneath a pub has launched a bid to expand into a former hardware shop.

Hampstead Fine Arts College, in Lambolle Place, wants to turn an empty unit on the England’s Lane shopping parade into classrooms and an exhibition space.

The shop was occupied for many years by RKP hardware – known for selling traditional household items – but it closed down in August. Now the college, whose former pupils include actors Helena Bonham Carter and Orlando Bloom, is seeking permission from the Town Hall to change the basement and ground floor of the building into teaching space and give the college an “on-street presence”.

Documents sent to the Town Hall explain that: “Due to a lack of floorspace, the college’s drama classes are temporarily being held in the basement of the Washington Pub”. It added: “Approx­imately 190 students are enrolled at the college and the students contribute to the vitality and viability of the Neighbourhood Centre making use of the surrounding shops, cafés and restaurants.”

Plans would see the basement of the shop altered so it linked to the art school, making room for teaching space and study rooms while the shop front would exhibit students’ work.

The shop falls within an area designated by the Town Hall as a Neigh­bourhood Centre, within which the council tries to protect the loss of independent shops.

The Belsize conservation area advisory committee said they had no objections to the plans but remarked that they “lamented the loss of another shop on England’s Lane”. The fine arts college, founded in 1978 by artists Candida Cave and Nicholas Cochrane, declined to comment.

Share this story

Post a comment