Local live music charity to breathe life and soul into Wandsworth Gasworks

Photo: Local live music charity to breathe life and soul into Wandsworth Gasworks

On Wednesday 14 June, at “Gastonbury” a special event held at music charity Neko Trust’s ‘the dEPOT’ near Armoury Way, Common Projects, the team behind the plans for the transformation of the former gasholder site at the centre of Wandsworth, announced its intention for the charity to take over a significant amount of the ground floor space within the future development and become its first permanent occupier.

The team spoke passionately about the richness of Wandsworth’s musical heritage, and the importance of ensuring young people in Wandsworth and beyond can access training and employment opportunities within the industry.

The charity, already operating from its temporary home on the Gasworks site, the dEPOT, will work alongside developer Common Projects to deliver a music campus which will be at the heart of the proposed new community at Wandsworth Gasworks. The campus will include recording studios, rehearsal and writing spaces as well as training areas, breakout spaces, green room and artist accommodation.

Established in 2005, Neko Trust provides education and training programmes to help local young people develop their skills in live music performance and production. To date over 1000 young people have worked with the charity, and the permanent move into a future Wandsworth Gasworks will ensure its continued success.

Glen Rowe, founder, Neko Trust said: “Neko Trust is the major charity for the live music sector. Resident in Wandsworth since 2005, we are part of a thriving yet little known music scene in this part of the borough. Our education and training programmes create pathways to employment, focusing on those facing barriers to progression. We draw on the expertise of a large pool of working professionals.

“Neko wants to retain talent within the borough of Wandsworth and encourage collaboration. The charity’s young creative community share facilities with established businesses and A-list artists. We clearly share an aspiration with Common Projects for a thriving music industry in the centre of Wandsworth.

“Neko’s vision is for a more sustainable music industry with a workforce more representative of the UK population. Our mission is to help the next generation of music and live events talent to reach their potential, regardless of background.”

Steve Sanham, director, Common Projects said: “At Common we take a community driven approach to our projects. We strongly believe in culture as a driving force to help to create and bring communities together, and with Wandsworth’s rich musical heritage, working with Glen and his team at Neko Trust is a perfect fit. We are planning to create something incredibly special here at Wandsworth Gasworks.”

Invited guests to Wednesday’s event, including the Lord Mayor of Wandsworth Councillor Juliana Annan, were treated to a performance by up and coming band Carpark. The band are longtime friends of Neko Trust. Scottie said: “We are so pleased for Glen and everyone at Neko. It is going to be fantastic for us, and so many other artists like us, to have amazing facilities on our doorsteps and we can’t wait to see how everything works out.”

Music is just one part of the story at Wandsworth Gasworks. Plans submitted by Common Projects to Wandsworth Borough Council for the 1.8 hectare, former gas holder site also include:

  • Opening a 150 metre stretch of the River Wandle for the first time in a century
  • Creating over a football pitch worth of new public spaces and play areas
  • Planting 170 semi-mature trees and improving biodiversity
  • Installing a new pedestrian bridge to complete the Wandle Trail
  • Improving walking and cycling routes for local people – connecting the town, the river, the site and the station
  • Providing 646 new homes, 35% being affordable, across four new buildings ranging from 10 to 30 storeys
  • Building 3,700 sq metres of new work space and ground floor spaces for community use as well as for new businesses
  • Retaining and repurposing the 67 metre circular foundation of the former gas holder and in doing do save the carbon equivalent of over 100 new-build homes.
  • Creating a zero carbon ready energy centre to provide heating for the entire development

Steve Sanham said: “Our proposals for Wandsworth Gasworks are the culmination of two and a half years of engagement with the Council and its various departments, more than 1500 local people, local businesses, and community groups. It’s been a complex process, because it’s a complex site, but it is a process we have really enjoyed. We very much look forward to seeing what the Council make of our proposals.”

“We are excited about the potential to create a dynamic new community on this under-used, un-loved industrial site. Our team has worked hard to design public parks and green spaces for everyone to enjoy, as well as creating new homes and places to do business. Wandsworth Gasworks will truly transform this corner of Wandsworth.”

Visit www.wandsworthgasworks.co.uk for more information and to watch the film which was shown at the event about the journey so far between Neko Trust and Common Projects.