Brent: High Court battle to save community centre being sold off

The High Court in London

The High Court in London - Credit: PA

Campaigners are going back to the High Court in their battle to save a community centre being sold off to private developers. 

The Stonebridge Community Trust fears residents will lose out if the Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre is redeveloped.

There are plans to build homes, shops and offices alongside a sports centre at the site. 

The Stonebridge Trust has been locked in a legal battle with Brent Council for several years over ownership of the site, which it says belongs to the community. 

A judgement in 2020 found the council was the “sole legal and beneficial owner” of the centre and could do with it anything it saw fit.

The trust has since lodged an appeal, which is running from now until  December 17.

It argues the land in Harrow Road was set up as a charitable trust and needs protection from private redevelopment. 

Jay Mastin, representing the trust, said: “We have a deserving case.
“The Bridge Park Complex is the largest and only centre of its type in Europe and the arguments are largely unique in law. We hope that the outcome will set a legal precedent.”

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Bridge Park was established in the 1980s to improve community relations when there were fears there could be widespread rioting in Stonebridge.

Led by resident Leonard Johnson, who is also appealing the 2020 ruling, it was to be “specifically aimed [at] but not limited to the needs of the African and Caribbean community.”

At the initial judgement, Brent Council said it still intends to support redevelopment but was committed to working with the campaigners. 

A Brent Council spokesperson said: “We remain committed to delivering a new Bridge Park in the interests of local people, and will defend the existing legal decision in the Court of Appeal.”
 

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