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End of an era as neighbourhood centre shuts doors

21 June, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

The HQ in Tottenham Street, which opened in 1975

FIVE decades of community action has drawn to close this week as a neighbourhood centre in Fitzrovia shut its doors after its lease was terminated.

Camden Council has taken the action and say they have to refurbish the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre’s headquarters in Tottenham Street, and once work is completed they can return, if they can find funding to pay the rent and the reduced size makes it viable.

Architects’ plans show a basement will be turned into a flat, which will then be sold on the open market. Upper floors of the Georgian terraced building will become social housing. The ground floor will be left for the centre’s possible return.

While work is done, the centre has been offered space in Cromer Street, King’s Cross, which staff have agreed to due to the lack of affordable office space in Fitzrovia.

The mural in Whitfield Gardens

Chairman Linus Rees told the Extra that they were waiting to be given more information over possible funding before they could say whether they would return to their original offices, and all options would be discussed at their annual meeting on Monday.

He added until the centre’s committee will then draw up plans for the future.

The centre has helped hundreds of people since it opened in 1975.

The service was set up by volunteers who refurbished an empty shop once used to sell panes of glass and then fundraised to pay staff who could offer advice on housing and welfare matters, while also offering a headquarters for community campaigns.

One very public legacy, the mural at Whitfield Gardens, was designed by artist Mick Jones and Simon Barber at the centre after they had interviewed people who lived and worked in the area.

A Camden Council spokesman said: “The council is carrying out much needed repairs to this building and is working with the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association with regards to suitable alternative premises. The council is committed to maintaining a constructive working relationship through this process.”

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