South Kilburn campaigners bring colourful objections to community centre destruction to the Town Hall
PUBLISHED: 16:25 28 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:25 28 August 2019
Campaigners in South Kilburn took their community activities to the civic centre urging planning chiefs to protect, not dismantle, their vital building.
With green badges pinned to their clothes, campaigners held a peaceful protest on Tuesday.
Supporters and staff from Rumi's Cave, which operates in the Carlton Centre, brought with them 600 signed objections urging the council to keep their building for community use.
Brent's South Kilburn regeneration plans involve demolishing the Carlton Centre, and with it 1,650 sq m of community space, protestors say.
Instead it plans to build 18 homes and an "enterprise hub" to be run by the South Kilburn Trust which runs other hubs in the Granville Centre.
Deputy council leader Cllr Margaret McLennan said "at least 50 per cent" of homes across South Kilburn's wider regeneration project will be for social rent, adding: "The regeneration is creating at least 1,400 new affordable council homes for South Kilburn residents, in addition to better parks, open spaces and services."
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But Leslie Barson, of Granville Community Kitchen, said: "The council is taking away 2,090 sq m of multi-purpose community space across both centres. After these plans there will be just 540 sq m so we are losing 72 per cent."
She added: "To say they must build council housing is misleading." She believes the social homes the development would bring could be put elsewhere where there is "little social housing".
"The 18 homes will decimate the site, and the needs of housing will be prioritised over the needs of the community," she finished.
Aminah Babikir, director of Rumi's Cave, said: "Community spaces and the need for social housing should not be pitted against each other. They are only proposing 18 flats [...] but the services we provide are a lifeline."
Afsheen Qureshi, assistant at the charity, added: "If this is really about the community then why is Brent Council trying to take away vital services for a generation of people who are struggling?"
Dhelia Snoussi, a Granville Community Kitchen volunteer added: "It's a recipe for disaster. We need community spaces now more than ever. Brent Council should be protecting these buildings, not dismantling them."