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Africa Centre plans new home in Great Suffolk Street

London SE1 website team

The Africa Centre - located in Covent Garden for nearly five decades - is planning a new home in Southwark.

Gunpowder House
Gunpowder House in Great Suffolk Street: prospective new home of the Africa Centre

The centre – first opened in 1964 – controversially sold its Covent Garden building to developers in 2011 and has been without a permanent venue since then.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mayor of London Boris Johnson were among those who signed a letter to The Times protesting against the sell-off. They wrote: "A vibrant Africa Centre in the heart of London can help to ensure that the city retains its status as the place where the continent engages with the rest of the world."

The centre describes itself as a "vibrant home-away-from-home and cultural hub for the African diaspora".

Now the charity has applied to Southwark Council for planning permission to turn Gunpowder House in Great Suffolk Street into its new long-term home.

The plans include a book and music shop to promote and share African literature, music, and culture, a cafe/bar offering an "African culinary experience" and an events space for exhibitions, lectures and debates.

• Planning application 15/AP/2337

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