Brent Council plan to close TWO community centres in South Kilburn
PUBLISHED: 09:46 14 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:15 14 October 2016
A fight has been launched to stop two community centres in South Kilburn from being knocked down and replaced by housing.
Under proposals by Brent Council, the site of Granville Centre and Carlton Centre, will be used for new homes as part of the £600million development of the South Kilburn Estate.
Users of the centres claim the council have ignored their needs by drawing up the plans.
Other critics include parents who use the nursery which serves both centres and is one of two in the borough that caters for children with autism and other special needs.
Leslie Barron, a volunteer at the Granville Centre, said: “The nursery was purposely built in 2005 specifically designed for all needs.
“In May the building was given £1.9m from the Greater London Authority and a further £2m from the South Kilburn Trust to renovate the building and bring it up to standard then in July the council announced they planned to bulldoze it.
“The council argues we are run down but they run us down, stopping us from letting it out because of noise to the neighbours.
“We have the community kitchen, film nights, and salsa dancing. We do a lot for the whole community and it’s very popular.”
Dee Woods, project co-ordinator and co-founder of the Granville Community Kitchen, which aims to empower people through food, and is located inside the centre, said: “Brent is pulling the rug from under the community.
“We’ve spent years building up trust within the community. People come together and support each other in a way that’s dignified. To lose this building will impact greatly on that.
“It’s housing for whom and at what price?
“This is about making money and that money isn’t going back into services.”
A consultation into the plans took place in September and its findings will be used for a masterplan of the area which includes a possible new community hub.
Amie Sylvester, whose son is autistic and uses the nursery, said: “Without this nursery here I don’t know what will happen. It will be devastating to lose it.
“The other nursery in Stonebridge is very far away.”
Hariadne Moreira, who has a four-year-old son, said: “If they close the nursery the kids are going to suffer. There’s nowhere like this around. Everybody’s really worried about it.”
Marina Shah, whose baby is 20 months, added: “Staff take children on trips to the theatre, to the seaside. Even if they replace it, the quality of provision will go down. It won’t be the staff’s fault, but circumstance.”
A spokeswoman for Brent Council said community services will continue to be provided in the area.
She added: “A huge amount of money has not been put into these buildings in recent months.
“In July, the council approved a proposal which aimed to get the most out of the site and help increase its financial value. The proposal involved demolishing these buildings but before proceeding, cabinet asked for a further report looking at all the issues on a wider perspective, involving consultation with the community.
“There will be an update to cabinet in the next few months.
“This will look at the proposal in light of the feedback received and the wider South Kilburn masterplan for the area.”