Iranian Cultural Centre on Crown Street Gets Go Ahead

Planning committee approves scheme for nine storey building

CGI of the planned building viewed from Woodlands Park. Picture: Grid Architects CGI of the planned building viewed from Woodlands Park. Picture: Grid Architects


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January 25, 2024

Councillors on Ealing’s planning committee gave their approval for a plan to build a nine-story building on Crown Street in Acton this Wednesday night (24 January).

The Caspian Cultural Centre (CCC) and the Library of Iranian Studies had applied to redevelop the current site at Woodlands Hall near the junction with Mill Hill Road for a building which will house its collection of more than 50,000 books and manuscripts as well as providing 105 flats for students and a café.

The charity has been based in the area for over 30 years and first submitted the proposal 18 months ago.

The scheme was recommended for approval by the borough’s planning officers and councillors praised its architectural merit and community function at the meeting before unanimously giving the go ahead.

There had been 40 objections lodged to the proposal mainly on the basis of the height of the main building and over-development of the site. The objectors included the Mill Hill Park Residents’ Association and the Ealing Civic Society.

CGI of the planned building viewed from Crown Street
CGI of the planned building viewed from Crown Street. Picture: Grid Architects

37 people wrote in support of the scheme, but it was noted that many of these submissions were not from local people with a proportion from overseas.

The proposals replace the charity’s existing two storey premises on the site adjacent to Woodlands Park which it says is in a state of disrepair and no longer fit for purpose. The building was purchased by the charity from the local authority in 1994 with funds donated by the Iranian community in Britain. Funds for constructing the cultural centre are to be generated by the 105 new student rooms above the centre, comprising a mix of studios and cluster flats. Students will benefit from use of the study space within the cultural centre, with further shared student amenity spaces on the top floor with views over the park.

The current premises of the Caspian Cultural Centre. Picture: Google Streetview

The CCC, formerly known as the Library for Iranian studies, is a charity housing the largest collection of titles in Persian language outside Iran. It also serves as an educational centre, promoting understanding of the region’s cultural history, stretching back over 5,000 years. It has hosted numerous literary events, lectures, exhibitions and book lunches as well as offering Persian language classes on a regular basis. The new building will allow it to expand these activities.

A visualisation of the library space in the planned building
A visualisation of the library space in the planned building. Picture: Grid Architects

The library and cultural space will be on the lower floor of the building and it is hoped that the student accommodation will help fund the scheme as well as providing an income for the charity going forward.

One condition of the grant of planning permission was that the cafe should only serve customers between 8am and 8pm Monday to Sunday and all activity must cease 30 minutes after closing time.

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