Barbara Perry, Maureen Clark and Joyce Farndale have run their residents’ association from the College Park Community Centre for over thirty years. On Wednesday evening they told me that “There’s bingo, the pensioners club, the happy bunnies mother and toddlers group, the youth club, quiz nights and day-time child care… it’s all going to stop if they go ahead with this”. The “they” being referred to was the H&F Council’s Conservative Administration, who agreed sell off their centre in a secret meeting last month.
They weren’t the only community groups to find themselves getting evicted. The Conservatives agreed to kick out the Wormholt Residents’ Association, Shepherds Bush Community Groups and several local charities from premises, across the borough, on the same evening.
Local MP, Andy Slaughter (Lab) was at the Town Hall, with hundreds of local residents, on Wednesday evening to offer his support. Councillors Wesley Harcourt (Lab), Colin Aherne (Lab) and Mercy Umeh (Lab) petitioned the Tories to change their minds in front of the packed council meeting. Some Conservative councillors had the grace to look embarrassed when members of their front bench laughed and joked during preceding. But, they still refused to reverse their decision.
Cllr. Harcourt said “The College Park Community Centre has been a public building for 107 years - under previous Conservative and Labour Council Administrations. This makes the Council’s new slogan of Putting Residents First into a joke. There’s very few facilities in the College Park area. The people who turned up tonight are having the heart and soul ripped out of their communities. They can’t understand why anyone in any position of authority would want to do that to them”
Email Andy Slaughter MP if you want to send a message of support to the campaign to save the community centres.