Published: 11 May, 2012
by PETER GRUNER
HIGHBURY Roundhouse, which boldly refused help from a property developer in order to launch its own £1.75million rebuilding scheme, has been promised cash from the Heritage Lottery fund.
Supporters attending a gala fund-raising event in aid of the community centre, were told that Heritage Lottery has offered £300,000 – provided the sum can be matched by fund-raisers.
At the same time the centre is launching a “virtual brick” scheme, in which residents can donate £100 or more to have their name displayed on the new building.
The plan is that the current 40-year-old building in Ronalds Road will be demolished and replaced with a new purpose-built community centre.
William Ellington, chairman of the centre’s management committee, described the Lottery pledge as a big boost to the fund-raising campaign.
The committee has also recently hired an architect who will be producing drawings of the proposed new centre.
The committee turned down the offer of a developer, despite pressure from Islington Council, in order to provide a building of sufficient space and quality, which does not depend on commercial flats.
The event last week at Sotheby Community Mews centre should earn £2,000.
An Arsenal football signed by the team was auctioned and the committee has now identified a number of charitable organisations which might help swell the coffers.
Mr Ellington said: “The next big step will be to present the architect’s designs in order to get planning permission from Islington Council.
“The council would have preferred us to go with a property developer, and that is still a possibility if we are unable to raise the cash.”
By providing no affordable housing within the scheme, Highbury Roundhouse management are aware they may have an uphill battle to convince the Town Hall to grant planning permission.
Islington District Scouts was recently refused planning permission for its new project in Holloway Road even though it contained affordable housing. There just wasn’t enough, according to the council.