Anger as Islington Council blunder leaves residents unable to use new community centre

07:19 21 May 2013

Lorna Reid and Suzanne York outside the building they won

Lorna Reid and Suzanne York outside the building they won't be able to use


Furious residents aren’t able to use a new community centre on their estate at the weekends after Islington Council broke its promise and let the facility to a private company seven days a week.

People on the Highbury Estate, off Highbury New Park, were looking forward to an old council building on the estate being turned into a brand new centre.

As part of the deal agreed in September a private nursery would rent the building part-time, providing funds to spruce the place up, while residents would get to use it on evenings and weekends.

But they claim a “secret” deal was done in January giving the nursery access until 6pm on weekends, leaving residents with just a few hours here and there. Islington Council said it was the result of an “error” made in the agreement

Lorna Reid, chairman of Highbury Estate Tenants Association (TRA), said: “Everyone was fine with the original agreement – it was a win win situation. We had it in writing, so we were angry and shocked when we found this out. When were they going to tell us?

“It’s either money or incompetence behind this. For six months, we’ve been lied to.”

Another part of the plan was to turn current community facilities into family housing – but the TRA has been unable to vacate the premises in the absence of a new home.

Ms Reid said: “There’s another loser in all this – the poor family waiting for a house. This would have helped the housing crisis, at least a little bit. “But now we can’t leave because we have no where to go.

“I feel sorry for the nursery too – because they will have built their business plan on using it seven days a week. I don’t understand why the council went along with this charade?”

Marco Fugazzola, who runs the Gymobree nursery, said: “We signed a contract with the council in early spring to use the building during our working hours – which includes weekends.

“Within the council there were different people talking to the different parties so there was a misunderstanding – it happens in any big organisation.

“But we feel like guests on the estate so we will talk to the TRA and try to find a solution.”

Cllr Barbara Sidnell, Islington Council’s executive member for communities said: “We always intended that the TRA would have exclusive use of the mezzanine at weekends.

“It’s frustrating an error was made on the agreement but we spotted it quickly and have already met with the nursery who are also keen to resolve this.”


Latest News Stories

Fri, 16:49
Islington Liberal Democrats chairman Nick Manners said the consultation was an an

But Labour comes back fighting over £90,000 ‘squander’ claims

Fri, 12:02
Youths stage flash mob on Islington Green

A flash mob of around 100 people descended on Islington Green at the weekend as part of a campaign to persuade all schools to adopt measures against “honour” based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Fri, 07:00
Henry's sister Claudia Hicks speaks to the thousands of campaigners

In December, 23-year-old Claudia Hicks was devastated when her younger brother Henry was killed in a moped crash while being chased by police.

Fri, 06:30
Armed police carry the G36 Heckler-Koch rifle as standard issue. The force has been criticised for using the alias G36 to refer to an armed officer involved in a fatal operation

Police have been slammed by a watchdog for using the name of a gun as an alias for an officer involved in a fatal firearms operation.

Most read news


You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Shop till you drop!

Here’s your chance to treat yourself to a new wardrobe and a whole lot more with this MyOffers competition to win an incredible £2,500 to spend at Primark on whatever you like!

Digital Edition

Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder