Residents fight to save Frampton Park Community Hall

Torren Lewis outside Frampton Park Community Hall
Torren Lewis outside Frampton Park Community Hall – credit Joshua Lamb

Residents of the Frampton Park estate, Hackney have started a petition to prevent the local community hall from being demolished by the council and replaced by housing.

Hackney Council are building more than 100 homes across four sites on the estate including the community hall for which they are still developing planning proposals. They expect to submit a planning application later in 2020. 

Torren Lewis, 43, a resident of the Frampton Park estate and vice chairman of the Frampton Park Tenants Resident’s Association has begun a campaign to prevent the hall from being demolished, adding that its closure in 2019 has had a big impact on the community. He said that there has been a spike in drug related crimes and burglaries. 

There was also the murder of a 29-year old man after he was stabbed through the heart on April 26 last year by three teenagers. Lewis said he thought these types of crimes are happening because youths are frustrated and bored on the estate.

Frampton Park community hall – credit Joshua Lamb

“When you’re living in overcrowded accommodation and you’re a young person, where can you go to release built up frustration and have your own space or associate with people of your own age? You can only do that in places like the Frampton Park community hall, or on the streets” he said.

Lewis said he has covered a quarter of the estate by knocking on resident’s doors and has gained 300 signatures so far. He intends on expanding the petition to social media and the rest of the borough in an attempt to get the council to reconsider destroying the hall.

Some residents on the estate are also unhappy with the closure of the hall as it provided the community with family workshops, a food bank and was home to church services, as well as yoga and dance classes and private hire functions. They are also concerned about any potential apartment buildings overlooking into their homes and blocking out sunlight.

“Ideally, we would keep the hall and build a lower rise [housing] block behind it. It’s less imposing to the residents that are complaining of overlooking and loss of light and that housing has to be 100 percent social housing. That will provide more social housing in that project than what is on the whole estate currently” Lewis said.

Hackney Council told Eastlondonlines that of the homes being built, two thirds will be for social rent and shared ownership with the priority going to families on the estate whose homes do not meet their needs due to overcrowding or medical problems. 

Hackney Council’s plans include improved public spaces – credit Hackney Council

They said that as of 2019, 147 families on the Frampton Park estate were on the housing transfer waiting list as their current home is unsuitable.

They also said that the community hall is in poor condition and has received repeated noise complaints from residents. They are proposing a major investment in other community facilities on the estate so that overall provision for residents is improved. This includes the Elsdale Community Hall which is 100 metres from the Frampton Park site.

Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville said: “The whole of Hackney is facing a critical housing crisis, but Frampton Park in particular has far too many families forced to remain in homes that are entirely unsuitable as they have nowhere else to go. Our plans mean making the best use of the space we have on the estate to build desperately needed, genuinely affordable council homes”.

Glanville also said that after listening to residents and councillors, the council will be committing funding to improve the community facilities on the estate with the aim of making them better than they are today.

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