Following a two day trial, concluding on 16th October 2012, the Centerprise Trust lost its case against an eviction notice served by Hackney council and was given seven days to vacate the premises.
The long running dispute between the Council and Hackney based community organisation has been running for over a year. It started when the council offered the community organisation a new lease demanding £37, 000 a year increasing its previous £10 per week peppercorn rate buy an unjust amount.
A dispute between both parties over the servicing of a Section 25 notice led to litigation and an interim County Court order made in November 2011 requiring both parties to engage in mediation to resolve the matter.
The Centerprise community centre compromises of a bookshop, restaurant and publishing service. It hosts a Saturday school, an annual literary festival and various community projects, from churches to education seminars and classes on its premises.
Yet despite its undisputed 42 year history of serving the local community Hackney Council maliciously derailed the reconciliatory process by engaging with a vexatious process where Centerprise was being compelled to prove its status as a community origination legible for a subsidised community rate of rent.
Beyond ‘bricks and motar’
On 16th October 2012, it was ruled that the contested Section 25 Notice specifying the date Centerprise’s tenancy was due to expire was indeed valid. This also had the consequence of making Centerprise liable for rent at the higher commercial rate while ‘squatting’. The court acknowledged the invaluable work of the organisation over many years but stated it believed it was compelled to rule in favour of the Council as landlord of a commercial property.
Emotions ran high at an emergency meeting held by the Trustees between the public and many friends of the centre on Friday, 19th October 2012. Plans were discussed to maintain the spirit of Centerprise beyond ‘bricks and motar’ and it was recognised that substantive support would be required to preserve and/or relocate the 42 year old community based institution beyond its current location in the heart of hackney.
Centerprise CEO, Emmanuel Amevor commented: “This is a very sad day for the Dalston community and the wider Hackney and London Community who have been served so well by Centerprise. After the war there is peace but we don’t believe Hackney Council understand the language of peace.”
External LinksCenterprise TrustCenterprise eviction threat looms
Centerprise CEO: Emmanuel Amevor
Press Release: Centerprise facing council closure threat
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