Last ditch scheme submitted to save Highbury Roundhouse

A LAST ditch scheme to save the crumbling Highbury Roundhouse and Youth Centre from demolition has been submitted to Islington Council.

Trustees have produced a plan to repair the community centre in Ronald’s Road, Highbury, which has been closed since August because the building is falling apart.

They also presented 600 signatures to Islington Council from supporters of the Highbury Roundhouse.

The proposal, drafted by Morton Partnership and which costs around �75,000, will now be examined by an independent surveyor and also Network Rail because of the railway line near the dilapidated property.

If the project is considered safe, Islington Council members will decide whether this way of repairing the building will bring value for money.

The Highbury Roundhouse will most likely be demolished if the scheme does not find favour.

Councillor Paul Convery, Islington Council executive member for planning and regeneration, said: “We are not in the business of closing Highbury Roundhouse. We just have a building which is falling down and which has a dangerous structure notice and which it seems will be expensive to repair. If this option is cost effective and gives the building a few more years then we are enthusiastic about following it through.

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“We have tested the patience of the district surveyor who served the dangerous structure notice in August. It has been six months and the building has further deteriorated. The surveyor will want this resolved quickly.”

The scheme - much cheaper than the �800,000 which Islington Council suggested it would cost to fix the Highbury Roundhouse - involves strengthening a damaged wall and installing a ground anchor.

Highbury Roundhouse offered dance classes, karate lessons and a pensioners club - and the activities have been continued at six different venues since the closure with financial support from Islington Council.

William Ellington, chairman of the Highbury Roundhouse and Youth Centre, said: “We are optimistic the scheme will be approved. The council is giving Highbury Roundhouse a subsidy to relocate its services in six different premises which is costing money and wouldn’t be necessary if the building reopened.

We have been on this path for five years regarding repairs to the Highbury Roundhouse and it will be a great relief if the scheme goes ahead. We will have a big party and invite all the supporters of Highbury Roundhouse.”