Centerprise meeting held to discuss eviction appeal

Pic: Christy Lam

Hackney residents gathered at Centerprise on Wednesday night to discuss an appeal to save the charity from eviction.

The charity was told on 16 October that it must leave its residency on Kingsland Hgh Street on Tuesday by 4pm. The charity also has to pay £50,000 in outstanding rent from June 2011.

Following a long legal battle against Hackney council where the charity lost, Emmanuel Amevor, Chief Executive of the Centerprise Trust and Community Centre, has made an application to appeal against the eviction.

There will be a tribunal on 5 November and six weeks from then a trial will be held to decide whether Centerprise can appeal.

Amevor commented on Centerprise website: “We have taken a small but significant step towards a very long road to securing justice.”

Amevor told EastLondonLines that he was still optimistic on the future of the charity.

He said: “When the result comes we will be here doing the same work we have been doing in the past 42 years, long after the people who are trying to drag us out of the community.”

A social networking team attended the public meeting in order to raise awareness about Centerprise’s situation.

Friends of Centerprise also announced that the demonstration, which was planned on 26th October, will be postponed until further notice, as they would like to raise more public awareness about the situation.

Miariam Williams, a committee member of Friends of Centerprise said the eviction is “disgusting”.

She said: “Although people who use Centerprise are predominantly from African Caribbean race, it caters for everybody – both black and white, young and old. I hope Friends of Centerprise could make people realise that it is not just about now but about future generations to come.

“They need somewhere to share ideas, where they can grow, learn and pass on new skills and develop as an individual as well as a community.”

A spokesperson for Hackney council emphasised that they have a responsibility to ensure that the tax payers of Hackney receive a fair rent for its buildings and given the great demand for buildings by the voluntary sector that each group is treated the same.

The long battle between Centerprise and Hackney council can be traced back to 1984 when the council bought the premises of Kingsland Rd.

The charity, which consists of a bookshop, café and workshop areas, had been paying £10 per week until the withdrawal of funding in 2008.

The council said “It is not a rent level that could continue for any organisation.”

After several unsuccessful negotiations the conflict was brought to London Central County Court on 16 October where the council won the case to evict the charity.

For more information about the charity go here. To sign the petition to save the charity go here.


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