Search

Diarmaid Ward on Sotheby Mews closure: ‘Building council homes means hard choices’

PUBLISHED: 09:21 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:13 23 February 2018

'Save Sotheby Mews' campaigners dressed as skeletons on the town hall steps ahead of last night's full Islington Council meeting. Picture: James Morris

'Save Sotheby Mews' campaigners dressed as skeletons on the town hall steps ahead of last night's full Islington Council meeting. Picture: James Morris

Archant

Islington Council will not back away from its quest to build council homes on the Sotheby Mews Day Centre site.

As reported in the Gazette this week, housing boss Cllr Diarmaid Ward delayed the closure of the Highbury centre for older people by 12 months.

It gave campaigners hope they could stop the shutdown – which would see Sotheby users moved to a shared space at Highbury Roundhouse – for good.

Because more than 2,000 people signed a petition calling for Sotheby to be saved, Cllr Ward had to hold a debate on it at last night’s full council meeting.

But Cllr Ward (Lab, Holloway) made clear there are “hard choices” to make as the town hall looks to solve Islington’s housing crisis.

Cllr Caroline Russell (Green, Highbury East) has been a leader of the “Save Sotheby” campaign over the past 12 months.

In an impassioned speech, she said: “With an aging population and the challenges that poses, I would have thought that Islington Council would be trying to expand activity for older people at Sotheby Mews rather than curtail it.

“They may even be keeping a seat warm for when Cllr Ward finds himself in need of such a facility. We’ll all need it one day and I sincerely hope that Sotheby Mews is still going strong when I reach that point.”

But Cllr Ward, who met Sotheby users on Monday, responded: “This council has got a clear mandate to deliver council homes. This year alone, we’re on course to build 140, the most in the borough for 30 years. There are hard choices along the way.”

He then picked up a copy of the Gazette, pointing to editor Ramzy Alwakeel’s column which, while backing the Sotheby campaign, also called for clearer housing policy from Cllr Russell’s Green Party.

Waving the paper in Cllr Russell’s direction, Cllr Ward asked: “I will go back to Ramzy’s Islington Gazette editorial. What we all want to know is: where do the Greens believe will be more appropriate for social housing?”

The council’s plans for the Sotheby site are sketchy. The scheme was announced 12 months ago, but when asked this week how many homes it plans to build on the site, a town hall spokesman could not give a number.

Related articles

Latest Islington News Stories

Sandy Marks’ future membership of the Labour Party is uncertain even after a QC-led review confirmed the Gazette’s revelations about the ex-mayor’s pro-paedophile past.

An organisation acting for victims and survivors of abuse in Islington children’s homes has responded bitterly to a barrister’s conclusion that there was no evidence “organised” wrongdoing had taken place.

The Charterhouse is offering “a treasure trove” of seasonal treats at its first ever Christmas fair in Clerkenwell today.

Yesterday, 15:37

The head chef at a Holloway care home is in the final of a national cooking competition.

Yesterday, 13:48

A paedophile who groomed and assaulted a young girl at his Archway home has been jailed for 11 years – and police believe he has more victims.

Yesterday, 11:37

Cycle stands in Finsbury Park have been removed after they were installed in “the wrong place”.

Yesterday, 10:57

A Clerkenwell exhibition remembers what life was like “on Islington’s home front” during the First World War – it’s an essential experience ahead of Sunday’s centenary.

Yesterday, 10:46

Children and veterans were among hundreds of people who marched together down Upper Street as part of celebrations marking the centenary of the Armistice yesterday.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now