Stonebridge community group to keep fighting after losing Bridge Park appeal

The Bridge Park community elated to win first stage of a possible battle to stop the sell off of pri

The Bridge Park community when they won the first stage of their appeal to stop the sell off of prized Stonebridge land - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

A Stonebridge community group has vowed to keep fighting after a High Court appeal dismissed its claims to Bridge Park land

Now the group is applying to appeal to the Supreme Court, the final court of appeal in the UK.

Jay Mastin is one of the directors of Stonebridge Community Trust, which has campaigned to protect the future of Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre in Brent since 2017.

He told the Times: “As a community, we're very sad."

He said the group believes that the Harlesden Peoples Community Trust (HPCT) has claims to the site.

HCPT played a founding role in its transformation from an old bus depot in the 1980s. 

Bridge Park was created in the wake of the 1981 Brixton riots as a centre for the African and Caribbean community. 

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But the High Court ruled that Brent Council "was the beneficial owner of the land" and can therefore sell it. 

Brent’s plans for the site include retail space and new homes as well as a replacement sports centre, with a gym, sauna and swimming pool.

But Jay says the community will keep fighting, with his group proposing their own alternative plans for a Centre of Excellence at Bridge Park and affordable housing to meet community needs.

He said he worries Brent’s plans for the site would leave the community with "socio-economic blight". 

Jay said: "The community, we're already facing really dire problems in that locality. We have so much need, we've got high crime, unemployment, mental health needs that are not being addressed and lack of housing."

The Bridge Park team: Leonard Johnson, Maureen Hibbert, Cheryl Phoenix, Shirley Wilson and Jay Masti

The Bridge Park team: Leonard Johnson, Maureen Hibbert, Cheryl Phoenix, Shirley Wilson and Jay Mastin - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

He worries unrest, like the riots which preceded the creation of Bridge Park in the first place, could return.

Jay added: "We want to lift people up rather than a tinder box of different frustrations to come together to lead to another negative outcome of uprisings or riots or killings.

"It’s at a point where it really does need positive solutions rather than containment solutions - which seems to be what Brent is offering."

In response to the judgement Brent Council leader, Cllr Muhammed Butt, said: “The council is pleased with this outcome.

“It means we can now continue working with local communities in Stonebridge and surrounding areas to realise the potential that’s been trapped in this treasured, but crumbling, site for far too long.

“It is time now for everyone to work together to help create a fairer and more equal Brent by providing the fantastic new leisure and employment centre that local people need and deserve.”