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St John's Wood sculptor calls for affordable studio space over threatened shed demolition

PUBLISHED: 14:53 27 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:53 27 September 2017

Terrence McGinity at the entrance to his shed in St John's Wood, under threat from a neighbouring development. Picture: T MCGINITY

Terrence McGinity at the entrance to his shed in St John's Wood, under threat from a neighbouring development. Picture: T MCGINITY

Archant

A sculptor whose shed is threatened with demolition has called for affordable studio spaces.

Terence McGinity’s 10 by eight feet studio has stood at the bottom of his Ordnance Hill garden for two decades but 18 months ago Westminster Council told its secure tenant of 35 years it planned to sell half the land to property developer Marcus Cooper Group (MCG).

As a result Mr McGinity, who was an actor and performed on Broadway in Twelfth Night alongside Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance, stands to lose his valued workspace.

Mr McGinity said: “I’ve spent thousands of hours doing something I love there. It’s a very special place.

“And it’s not easy to find anywhere to sculpt in London,” he added.

Although half the 30 metre garden would remain and could accommodate the shed, Mr McGinity, who sculpts using wood and stone and has exhibited at Burgh House in New End Square, said the noise generated by his work would disturb his neighbours.

“My woodland garden is an umbilical cord about to be severed in two. My shed is the womb. A knife has been threatening to descend for months,” he said.

Tomorrow Mr McGinity, who wheeled a barrow to a remote corner of Regent’s Park to work before he was granted planning permission to build his studio, will learn the council’s decision on the sale to St John’s Wood Chapel developer MCG.

Mr McGinity, who works with children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, said his landlord, City West Homes, has been “very caring” about the issue.

He added that he understood Westminster Council is in need of money to build more houses, but his “grief is real and visceral”.

If an alternative location can’t be found for the shed then it is uncertain what will happen to Mr McGinity’s refuge.

“I have a feeling it will be demolished. I expect to feel quite a loss. It will be very difficult when it comes to taking it down,” he said.

In response a Marcus Cooper Group spokesman said alternative studio space was being sought by the council.

A spokeswoman for City West Homes said: “We have been in close contact with Mr McGinty and are supporting him to help find alternative studio 
space so that creativity can continue to thrive within our diverse communities.”

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