Councillors and residents are organising a protest on Saturday to save six community centres across London at risk of being sold off by Hyde Housing, one of the capital’s biggest housing associations.
Hyde have announced plans to sell off or demolish the Stockwell Centre and the Kennington Park Centre in Oval, The Hub and Pavilion in Brent as well as The Arc and The Ringcross centres in Islington.
A protest will take place at 2pm on Saturday 21 January by the Stockwell War Memorial near Stockwell tube station (SW8 1UG).
A petition to save the Stockwell Centre organised by councillors and the Studley Estate Residents’ Association has already attracted more than 1,600 signatures, and campaigners have instructed solicitors to examine a potential legal challenge, on the basis of promises broken in the original consultation with residents when the estate was transferred from Lambeth Council in 1999.
Stockwell Councillor Alex Bigham said:
This is a place which allows the community to get together and provides crucial support to help people lead healthier lives and get back into work. There is a real problem when housing associations go rogue and become more interested in feathering their own nests than helping people on council estates who pay their rents.
Hyde Housing, the housing association which runs the Stockwell Centre, plan to lease it to another group, with no guarantee that it will stay open or provide the same services to local residents.
The Stockwell Centre is used by 1,000 people a week, and local councillors and residents are campaigning to ensure it continues to provide its current services which include a welcome project for refugees and support for unemployed residents.
A campaign video has been released by supporters of the centre:
The Kennington Park Community Centre is earmarked for demolition, and plans from Hyde say they intend to build 100% luxury private homes which will be unaffordable to local residents.
Chair of Kennington Park Estate Tenants Association and former Leader of Lambeth Council, Joan Twelves, said:
I have lived next door to our community centre for over 30 years. My son went to kids karate there. Now I organise keep fit and computing classes for pensioners. The destruction of Kennington Park Community Centre will be more than a real loss to our community. It will damage the cohesion and social fabric of our Estate and we are calling on Hyde to reconsider.
Sign the petitions:
Stockwell Petition link: https://www.change.org/p/hyde-housing-save-the-stockwell-community-centre
Kennington petition link: https://www.change.org/p/save-oval-s-kennington-park-community-centre
Assemble at at 2pm on Saturday 21 January by the Stockwell War Memorial near Stockwell tube station (SW8 1UG).