Council Approves Sales of Village Hall and Askham Centre

Shepherd's Bush community centres included in sell-off

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Hammersmith and Fulham Council



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As expected, Hammersmith and Fulham council cabinet has approved plans to sell off eight "under-used" buildings across the borough including the Village Hall and the Askham Family Centre in Shepherd's Bush.

The decision was made at a meeting held at Hammersmith Town Hall last night, Monday February 7, despite protests from a large crowd of local people, including campaigners aiming to Save the Village Hall

Local MP Andy Slaughter, who spoke to the crowds protesting in King Street, described the decision as "galling".

And he echoed the view expressed on many of the protestors' placards, saying: "The big society is a big joke."

The Village Hall, at 58 Bulwer Street, currently houses the Shepherd's Bush Community Association, Shepherd's Bush Families Project and West and North West London Vietnamese Association is used regularly by three faith groups, a dance
school and young people’s sports group, with additional regular alterative therapies operating from the centre.

The Askham Family Centre supports local families who need sensitive support such as supervised contact for children in care, and also offers overnight respite for families with severely disabled children.

The council has said a report recommended sales of the eight buildings to help pay off debts after a public consultation was carried out in autumn.

The other buildings are Hammersmith's Palingswick House, earmarked for Toby Young's West London Free School, the Irish Centre in Blacks Road, Fulham Town Hall and Sands End Community Centre, plus the Distillery Lane Children's Centre and the Greswell Centre currently home to HAFAD - Hammersmith and Fulham Action on Disability.

Before the meeting, Council Leader, Councillor Stephen Greenhalgh said: "  We have had a very wide-ranging consultation on the sale of these sites and I appreciate the contributions that local people have made.

" I understand how difficult some people have found it to come to terms with the budget pressures we are facing, but the reality is, we have no choice but to reduce our spending and whether it is right to sell buildings rather than cut services will be decided by Cabinet on February 7."

Last night he promised there would be no "fire sale" of the buildings, and added: " I make a personal commitment that we will continue to work with people to continue their service."

February 8, 2011