Brent Council proceeds with plans for new Bridge Park hub as court day looms
PUBLISHED: 07:33 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 07:52 07 February 2019
Brent Council is proposing to replace a Stonebridge leisure centre with a new community hub, despite local opposition – and interest from Raheem Sterling.
Cabinet chiefs are meeting on Monday to discuss a proposal to destroy Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre and replace it with a new “improved” hub.
The revised plans include a six-lane swimming pool, gym and sports hall, and “more than double the originally allocated community space”.
The plans have been slammed by the Bridge Park Community Council (BPCC) which says they do not address the fact the community does not want Brent to sell the land.
The group has received high profile support from England striker Mr Sterling, who wishes to build a sports academy on the site.
Jay Mastin, chair of BPCC said: “Brent’s latest plan would leave the community with significantly less facilities than that which Bridge Park currently offers. Brent should halt the sale and now fully involve the community on the use of the land.”
Ownership of the land is highly contested as covenants were placed on it in the 1980s.
In June 2017, the town hall approved a conditional land sale to Stonebridge Real Estate Development Ltd, a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holdings (GMH).
Hoping to halt the sell-off, community group Bridge Park Community Centre (BPCC) applied to the Land Registry to put a restriction on the site’s disposal, a matter that – after being objected to by Brent and then referred to a tribunal – remains unresolved, pending a High Court hearing on February 27.
Mr Mastin said the date put the council under “extreme pressure” to complete the deal with GMH.
He added: “We feel Brent Council has adopted a number of tactics to try to get past the court process and speed up the usual court timetable.”
He said the council’s agreement to meet with them was “an unexpected” acceptance of the “longstanding offer of mediation” but coming at the same time as the court hearing rendered it “non binding and ineffective”.
Brent’s leisure boss Cllr Krupesh Hirani said: “The council applied to the courts in order to quickly and most cost effectively clear up the matter so we can give better clarity on our proposals.”
He said the council was “exploring options” with Mr Sterling’s management team over his academy plans.