Saving Bridge Park Community Centre

The case is in the High Court on Wednesday 27th February. The community activists (BPCC) will assemble outside the High Court at 1pm on 27th February. Please join them to show your support.

Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre was set up by a group of local youth (16-20 year old) in the 1980s. They bought the land to build a Community Centre for the residents. Brent Council has decided to sell the Community Centre to property developers with the plan to demolish the community centre and build a hotel, retail space and homes in it’s place. The community have organised effectively through the Save Bridge Park Campaign, formed by Bridge Park Community Council (BPCC) and are taking Brent Council to court to challenge the sale of a property that is owned by the community, not the Council.

Here are two videos about the upcoming demo outside the High Courts.

Video 1: Cheryl Phoenix and Video 2: Freddie McGregor


Linked Videos:

Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre | Thames News

Dawn Butler, Labour MP speaks to black community!! SAVE BRIDGE PARK!


Related Articles:

‘Brent is stealing our Bridge Park legacy…it is part of our Black Heritage’

Source: Wembley Matters blog edited and published by Martin Francis.

29 November 2018

Blue Shirt Man – Save Bridge Park Complex time to STAND UP

A legal battle is on between Brent Council and the Afro-Caribbean community of Stonebridge, Harlesden and Monks Park over the future of Bridge Park.  The centre is part of a Council redevelopment project that includes the long-empty Unisys building.  It is much more than a legal battle – it is a battle for the beating heart of the local community.
Wembley Matters has covered the dodgy nature of some of Brent Council’s partners in their development scheme and this was reinforced by trenchant criticism of the Council by the late Dan Filson. LINK 1  LINK 2

Young visionaries in what was then the bus depot
Bridge Park was set up by young black people in the 80s at a time of the uprisings. It is part of black heritage in the borough that came from the grassroots, just as the Stonebridge Adventure Playground, closed by the council, also had its roots in the community and amongst the young.
A community group, Bridge Park Community Council, set up to save the centre from the council plans have put forward their own alternative which is rooted in the community and continues the original ethos of Bridge Park when the Harlesden People’s Community Council organised to purchase the old bus depot.

BPCC successfully appealed to the Land Registry over the sale of the land and it was blocked  but now the council is fighting back through legal action.

A fundraising campaign is now underway to take the council on: LINK
and there is a petition of to stop the sale and return control and development of the Bridge Park site to the community

BPCC’s short-term plan is

(a) To show the “London Borough of Brent” that we have an interest in the land, and to therefore suspend the sale of the Land and property referred to as “Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre”. 
(b) To secure the Community interest in the Land and property by means of legal, public and political action.
(c) To develop a self-sustaining Centre of Excellence providing educational, Technology, social, well-being and commercial facilities.
(d) To encourage Brent Council and all parties to engage with BPCC in peaceful timely negotiation (ADR), Mediation or Arbitration as opposed to costly litigation with a view of coming to an agreement in relation to the Community’s control and interest in the said Land and Property.

  EMPOWERING OUR COMMUNITY

                   WE NEED YOU…!!!!


THANK YOU FOR CONTINUED SUPPORT TO SAVE BRIDGE PARK LAND & COMPLEX

*FIRSTLY – BRIDGE PARK IS NOT SOLD.

Bridge Park Community Council as successor to HPCC established Bridge Park Complex Steering Group, to protect the interest, control and development of the Bridge Park Land and Properties for the community.  

In the 1980s, HPCC, founded by a group of young 16-20 year olds, who followed their vision and desire to serve the community, and to ensure that the young men and women growing up in Stonebridge, N.W London had facilities and opportunities to empower them to succeed.  They bought the land supported by sourced grant funding of £1.8m.  

They raised a further £3m+ along backing to design and build the current Bridge Park Complex seen today. The original vision was for the creation of educational, commercial business units, sports and multi-purpose facilities.  The land is estimated to be worth over £50 million on the open market.

In order for HPCC to obtain the funds, Brent Council acted as custodians ONLY: with no right to sell, transfer or dispose of the land, acquired by the community for the community. The Bridge Park site had a protective covenant on the land.  Brent Council officers removed the covenant prior to February 2014.  The community were not informed. [Wembley Matters here is the LINK to the report to the Brent Executive in June 2013 which states: The Bridge Park site had a covenant on it that sports and community uses should be protected and around half of any value of any development would have to paid to the LB Bromley (as successor body to the GLC). However officers have successfully re moved this covenant.] 

Experienced Lawyers, (DWFM Beckman, London) have been engaged, and advice has been taken from a Senior Counsel, specialising in this area of Law and Chancery.

*Brent Council entered into the Conditional Land Sale Agreement with General Mediterranean Holding (GMH) as guarantor, for the sale of the Bridge Park Complex in June 2017.  A strict condition of the sale is that the land must be free of all interests. Brent Council plan to allow development worth over £800 million on the land, but aim to sell off the Land and 42x Business Units, 2x restaurants, Bar, 2x Gyms, full size In-door Basketball and Badmintons Courts, plus Multi-faith centre and Nursery buildings all this for less than £13 million Brent  will not fully disclose the lower price. THIS DID NOT GO TO TENDER !!!

HPCC in association with successor’s BPCC Steering Group and S.C. Trust (HPCC) Ltd the land.

An application to the Land Registry to restrict Brent Council, to stop the Sale of Bridge Park was made in August 2017, through our lawyers.

Brent Council have been given an extension of 30 days to file their documents to challenge this restriction.

***** WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT *****

Our community needs a lot more than a Gym & Swimming Pool.

We will build an iconic Centre of Excellence  for The Community by The Community. Addressing our Educational, Social and Commercial needs. And most of all it will be self funded and sustained. 

A land mark building upon which we can take pride in.

Come and get involved – Sign the petition against Brent Council’s plans

WE NEED  our community building to be kept in the hands of the COMMUNITY in PERPETUITY!!

Help us to raise the much needed funds for the legal challenge to halt the sale of Bridge Park.

WE NEED TO FIRST RAISE THE INITIAL £10,000 OF THE £25,000 FOR OUR LEGAL DEPOSIT, TO FIGHT OUR CASE IN THE HIGH COURT, LONDON.

Email:    info@bridgeparkcomplex.com
Details of BPCC’s vision can be seen on their website HERE   

The officers’ report to the Brent Executive in June 2013 stated:

Our officers have carried out a new Equality Analysis. There are a number of important conclusions. The first is that Bridge Park has been important in serving an important part of Brent’s Afro-Caribbean community. Removing the sports centre would strongly negatively impact on this group. The area has one of the strongest increase in under 5’s in the whole of Brent. Over 88,000 of the 447,000 people within a three mile catchment of the centre are under 16 years of age (20% compared with a borough average of 16%). The starter business units that would not be replaced do have a high proportion of people from Afro-caribbean background.


Hundreds fill Bridge Park leisure centre to stop Brent Council selling off community’s vital land

Source: Kilburn Times Website by Nathalie Raffray 11 December 2018

Hundreds of supporters packed a Stonebridge leisure centre to let the council know their community centre won’t be sold and destroyed without a fight.

Bertha Joseph adds her voice to save Bridge Park Community Centre. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg Christala, sat beside Jay Mastin, speaks passionately over threat to close Bridge Park Community Centre. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Members of the Save Bridge Park Campaign, formed by Bridge Park Community Council (BPCC), held a public meeting on Sunday afternoon at the Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre, in Harrow Road, to gather support.

Speakers, including Bridge Park co-founder Leonard Johnson, and BPCC chair Jay Mastin roused the crowd with impassioned speeches and urged them to donate so they have a chance of winning a High Court battle with Brent Council.

A massive fundraising drive has started to fund a legal fight, with £25,000 already raised.

Mr Mastin said the meeting was “about the legals” adding: “Many times we’ve gone to represent ourselves to local authorities, we’ve marched, we sent in petitions, and despite what people say, they are still proceeding with the sale.

Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central speaks at the meeting to save Bridge Park Community Centre. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

“The only way we can block them is how we block them at the moment and that’s with the might of the law.”

Black Child Agenda founder, Cheryl Phoenix, whose son was stabbed two years ago, said the crime “cycle needs to break”, before adding: “We as black people need this building, we as people need to do what we need.”

Brent Council is to apply for a summary hearing to lift restriction that the land registry has placed on Bridge Park after BPCC successfully applied for protection on the land in August 2017.

In June 2017, Brent Council entered into a conditional land sale agreement with Stonebridge Real Estate Development Ltd, a new subsidiary of the Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holdings (GMH), for the sale of Bridge Park Complex land. 

Huge crowd protest over threat to close Bridge Park Community Centre. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

The plans include a hotel, retail space and new homes in the empty Unisys office next door to the site, already owned by GMH, and a new £12.25million replacement sports centre, with a gym, sauna and swimming pool.

However, a strict condition of the sale is that the land must be free of all interests.

Adding her support to the group, Brent Central’s MP Dawn Butler urged the crowd to fill in the questionnaires, with cries of “I never got my letter!” when she told them Brent Council had only received 50 responses to the “thousands of letters they sent out.”

She told the Brent&Kilburn Times: “Bridge Park was born out of the Brixton riots becoming a valuable symbol of the unity in Brent where there were no riots. 

“Far too often we lose community centres and then wonder why our kids are out on the streets.

“We need centres where generations can get together and grow and where businesses can start and flourish.

“I understand the argument that Bridge Park didn’t seem to be well run or run by the community for years. 

“On Sunday the community, made up of all generations, came together to declare that they are ready to stand together to run a community centre. It was great to see the activism and enthusiasm in our community. 

“There’s a desperate need for a centre of excellence in Brent. I am fully behind a centre of excellence professionally run by the community.

“A generational community hub for all; an educational place where people can work, rest and play.”

Cllr Margaret McLennan, deputy leader of Brent Council, said: “On several occasions the council has offered to work on the redevelopment project with members of the community, however, they refused. 

“This was even before Mr Leonard Johnson started a legal process to claim ownership of council land.

“Whatever the court decides, it doesn’t change the fact that we are fully committed to working with the local community to ensure that any proposals taken forward are done so with the aim of improving the lives of our residents. 

“Carrying out such a project is not a straight forward process and this application to the court is to clear up a few legal matters.

“By resolving this as quickly as possible we can move forward and deliver the much needed new community centre, affordable homes and new jobs.”

To sign the petition to save Bridge Park visit bridgeparkcomplex/urgent-petition

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