Estate fury at plan to replace Crouch Hill community centre with flats

People on an estate are furious over possible plans to tear down their community centre and use the site as a cash cow to refurbish a neighbouring centre.

More than 150 residents on the Holly Park Estate, off Holly Park, Crouch Hill, have complained about a scheme to build a block of 45 flats on their car park and community centre and use money raised by selling the flats to refurbish the Hanley Crouch Community Centre – know as the Laundry – in nearby Sparsholt Road

They claim they haven’t been consulted about the plan and were misled by Tollington ward Cllrs Richard Watts and Jean-Roger Kaseki, who they say, failed to mention what the cash would be used for, even though they are both trustees of the Laundry.

Although a letter sent by a council officer to a resident on Monday confirmed the scheme, the town hall has since said the money would not pay for the entire cost of the refurbishment, and that both projects are short on funds.

Jacqueline Hodges, 35, who lives on the Holly Park Estate, said: “When they proposed the scheme they subjected us to a lot of emotional rhetoric about the lack of housing in Islington – how we all have to do something about it urgently and if we objected we were throwing mud in the faces of the poor and impoverished.

“It seemed like we didn’t have a choice – this plan had already got quite far.

“They failed to tell us what the money raised would be used for.”

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Justine Gordon-Smith said: “They are forcing this development down our necks. They want to build more housing on our overcrowded estate and use the money to refurbish the Laundry.

“We have nothing against the Laundry – they do good work down there – but the council are riding roughshod over us.”

Lib Dem leader Cllr Terry Stacy, who has been in contact with the residents, said: “Labour has turned the provision of new homes into a shambolic mess, pitting community against community – and the wider Islington family will lose out.”

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said the consultation for an improved community centre and council housing on the estate, as well as rebuilding the Laundry, were at an early stage.

He added: “Both plans would involve council capital funding – the exact finances will depend on the final details of the projects.While doing them together would save on costs, neither project is dependent on the other. We want to make sure residents are fully consulted and informed about the proposals.”