Published: 6 July, 2012
• SO the council is funding a feasibility plan for a new community centre on the Tufnell Park estate (We must crack down on gangs before it’s beyond rescue point, June 29).
The obvious questions are: why was the original centre closed, on whose say-so and why isn’t the council carrying out its own project assessment for a replacement centre using council-tax funded staff?
Who is the contractor and how much is being paid for this private study?
Residents have a right to know.
The excellent comments from McCall House’s Katherine McInerey – “We need more than police coming on the estate. We need to bring it back to life. We need a community centre.” – are a timely reminder to the council in its drive for more “affordable” housing that quantity isn’t all. Quality – of the external physical and social environment – matters too.
As for dispersal orders, they merely move the problem from one area to another and do nothing to address the question of where inner-city youngsters, particularly those with no access to gardens, can meet and socialise.
The council must surely think carefully before approving building on estates that will reduce existing community space.
The proposed scheme for Holly Park is a case in point if, as suggested, it would be two-thirds smaller than the current facility (Letters, June 29).
Residents of estates aren’t responsible for the lack of social housing.
That falls at the door of the right-to-buy scheme, which has contributed to obscene property-price inflation and enriched many individuals at the expense of the public good. It’s right that estates’ residents are asking why they’re being made to pay through increased density.
If council bosses really want to lead the way with an innovative housing proposal they must confront head-on the matter of privately owned empty property.
Some of this has been vacant for many years – in some instances more than 10 – as can be seen in Barnsbury.
Dumping on estates’ residents simply won’t do – and a memo to Sean McLoughlin, the new chief housing officer: tenants are residents, too, so no need for the oxymoronic “tenants and residents” divide.
Ellington Street, N7