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Staff in plea to rescue crumbling Roundhouse

PUBLISHED: 15:59 22 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:12 14 October 2010

STAFF at the Highbury Roundhouse are calling on Islington Council to 'send in the builders – not the bulldozers' after they were asked to consider the demolition of the much-loved community centre.

STAFF at the Highbury Roundhouse are calling on Islington Council to "send in the builders - not the bulldozers" after they were asked to consider the demolition of the much-loved community centre.

The facility in Ronalds Road, Highbury, was dramatically closed down last month after cracks were discovered in the walls of its main building.

Islington Council says knocking down the Roundhouse would be far cheaper than repairing it - but centre chiefs have vowed to fight tooth and nail to save the historic building, which has been providing services to the community for almost 40 years.

Tony Miller, secretary of the Highbury Roundhouse, said: "The district surveyor declared that he would not lift the closure order if only temporary repairs were undertaken.

"Officers of the council then offered two options. The complete demolition of the back building which would cost £280,000 or the demolition of the gable wall and a rebuilding and underpinning repair which would cost around £500,000.

"The Highbury Roundhouse was asked to agree to the demolition. Not surprisingly, we did not agree. This means that for the relatively small sum of £220,000, the back building would be reinstated and the community would have use of it for the foreseeable future. It would not be possible to buy a one room flat in Highbury for £220,000. To us the choice seems obvious."

Islington Council insists no decision has been made to demolish the Roundhouse and says full costings for the two options are currently being obtained.

Councillor Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, said: "We've been working extremely hard to ensure that local residents shouldn't suffer, and temporary venues have been found for the centre's activities.

"All options will be explored for tackling the problem and redeveloping the site in ways that will permanently re-provision Highbury Roundhouse, subject to affordability.


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