CHANGE: An artist’s impression of the new Bridge Park Community Centre (Photo credit: Brent Council)
BRIDGE PARK Community Centre have been given the green light to be demolished and replaced by a new community hub – a fortnight ahead of scheduled hearing to determine the status of the land.
Cabinet chiefs unanimously made the decision last Monday (Feb 11) amid criticism from the community, who have lobbied against Brent Council for wanted to sell the land on which Bridge Park sits.
Speaking to the Harrow TimesCllr Krupesh Hirani, who is responsible for culture and leisure at Brent Council, said: “I am pleased that these enhanced plans have been approved by cabinet and delighted that residents could soon get to enjoy a local swimming pool, better community facilities and modern flexible business spaces.
“We are a step closer to delivering a hub that caters for the needs of residents now and in the future. Brent has a growing and aging population and the new independent living homes in this proposal together with the additional housing that the neighbouring Unisys buildings will bring, once rebuilt, with help many residents.”
He confirmed that the old building, which was set up in the 1980s, would be demolished, and that an “advisory group” made up of six to eight people will be set up, to ensure “that the community is given a voice on how things progress”.
The council asked the High Court for permission to sell the land to developers, but community groups including Bridge Park Community Centre (BPCC) are hoping to halt the sell-off, during a hearing set to take place February 27, which is funded by the public.
The hearing will see the council and the community go head to head over the future of the land. According to Kilburn Times, the council plan to use the space for a new community hub which will include a six-lane swimming pool, gym and sports hall. However, the BPCC hopes to block the land sale as they have their “own vision for the site”.
The potential closure of the community centre has gained attention from celebrities including Raheem Sterling, who campaigned to help save the local centre from closure.
Taking to Twitter in December 2018, Sterling wrote: “@brentcouncil need to answer this! Why are my team continuously getting no response, when I’m trying to help the community (especially the kids) while the council are still trying to sell off a key part of my childhood; Brent Park? Can someone answer this please?”
Dawn Butler MP also shared her support for the community. She said: “Bridge Park was born out of the Brixton riots becoming a valuable symbol of the unity. Far too often we lose community centres and then wonder why our kids are out on the streets.
“We need centres where generations can get together and grow and where businesses can start and flourish. I understand the argument that Bridge Park didn’t seem to be well run or run by the community for years.
“The community, made up of all generations, came together to declare that they are ready to stand together to run a community centre. It was great to see the activism and enthusiasm in our community.”
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