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'The fight goes on': Bridge Park campaigners determined to continue battle to save community centre

PUBLISHED: 18:00 01 August 2019

Artists impression of the new proposed Bridge Park hu. Picture: Brent Council

Artists impression of the new proposed Bridge Park hu. Picture: Brent Council

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"As far as we are concerned it goes on as before."

The Bridge Park community elated to win first stage of a possible battle to stop the sell off of prized Stonebridge land.  Picture: Nathalie RaffrayThe Bridge Park community elated to win first stage of a possible battle to stop the sell off of prized Stonebridge land. Picture: Nathalie Raffray

That's the message from the Jay Mastin, one of the community campaigners leading the battle to stop the controversial sale of the Bridge Park Community Centre in Harlesden.

At the end of July, the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox MP declined to intervene in the increasingly bitter dispute between the council and community group the Stonebridge People's Trust (HPCC).

The campaigners won a High Court ruling earlier this year when Master Rhys ruled against a town hall application to have the case brought by the HPCC and steering group the Bridge Park Community Council dismissed.

Master Rhys said that the Attorney General should then have the opportunity to review the case, and decide whether to take it up on behalf of the campaigners - his decision not to do this does not stop the case proceeding to a full trial.

The town hall has said it hoped to be able to mediate with the HPCC, but at this stage both parties are continuing to litigate - and the HPCC now have the backing of top-tier law firm Hogan Lovells.

The latest court hearing, in the Rolls' Building in the Strand on Tuesday July 30 was inconclusive, Jay said.

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Jay, who chairs the BPCC, added to this paper: "At this stage, not much has changed, although it was quite interesting, and we went through a number of points."

He explained that in this case the Attorney General "had seen no need" to intervene, as the campaigners did not need the protection of the crown.

The case hinges on whether the council was able to agree to sell the land on which the community centre sits to a Luxemburg-based developer who will provide a new centre as part of a wider regeneration scheme.

Jay added: "Now we've the benefit of the solicitors on board, we're certainly not going away."

The BPCC's stance is at odds with the town hall's - which said the Attorney General's stance was a "major step forward".

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent's culture lead, said: "The council remains committed to creating better leisure, community, employment and business spaces for local people to enjoy at a new Bridge Park Centre.

"We have offered yet again to meet with representatives from the Stonebridge People's Trust to see if we can find a positive way forward together without having to go through the courts again."

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