When members of Battersea Communities realised last year that Randall Close Resource Centre was due to be demolished to make way for new housing paid for by the Council, there was real concern that there are precious few spaces – on the Surrey Lane Estate in particular – where citizens can gather as community groups, where parents can bring babies for support, where young people can let off steam and elderly people can get a hot lunch and a game of draughts.
Members of Battersea Communities who live on the Estate expressed concern about this, and told a story of disinvestment and withdrawal by the Council from the Estate over recent years. Not many years ago there was a community centre on the Estate, beside Gardiner House, which was pulled down with the minimum of consultation with the community; and, shortly before my arrival here, the police station was closed, and the site developed for private housing.
We discussed the matter with KLS director Aaron Barbour, and all three of our local councillors and decided that Battersea Communities would conduct a wide survey of residents to get a sense of how much they cared about this planned demolition, and the quality of community life in general on the Estate. And so that’s what we did, and coming off the back of that we’ve written a report on our findings which are available at the back of the church. The results are telling; here are some of the headlines:
- 98% of people would like a new community centre on the Surrey Lane Estate
- 72% do not think there are sufficient safe, indoor, public spaces on the Estate
- 73% do not think there are enough opportunities for the youth of the Estate
- 91% would support a campaign to get a community centre on the Estate
As things currently stand, the plans for the Randall Close development are due to be submitted this month, without any allowance for a community centre. After they are submitted, we have a 13 week window to raise our concerns and make sure they are sent back to the drawing board for redrafting – this time with a community centre space included.
Would you like to see a community centre built? Do you want to add your voice?
You are invited to a
on Monday 2nd March
at St Mary’s Church Battersea
2.30 – 5.30 afternoon drop-in session or 6.30pm for the main meeting (with guest speakers).