Friday, February 11, 2011

H & F Council Cabinet, Monday 7th February 2011

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter says: "They are selling off invaluable community assets at a time of depressed property prices. And they are acting against the central tenet of their own government – the Big Society."

"I will be there on Monday protesting their short-sighted policies and hundreds of people, of all political stripes from all parts of our community, will be there too."

Quoted at

And he was. Andy Slaughter took part along with many other speakers, both from the floor and those who had been chosen to represent the organisations which would be affected by the proposed sale of buildings.

"This not a fire sale" said the Chair of the Council Cabinet. Yet after two hours, they voted for the right for the full Council to dispose of all the buildings. The vote was taken as the calls to common sense and compassion from the Council grew and grew, and Andy Slaughter had to call out to tell us all that the vote had been taken, and that the resolutions had been passed, without change.

The Irish Cultural Centres (at 5, Blacks Road) failed in their attempt to have more time to raise funds for their own plans to buy their own building. The Council has gone back on a promise and their lease was shortened.

Anna du Boisson spoke for the Village Hall. Her argument was cogent, not least that she had banked on Village Hall being available to her Schools, both day school and the after school classes.

Every building under threat had an Equality Impact Assessment in hundreds of pages (copied of which were printed for members of the public). But where was the Health Impact Assessment - the representative from the Sands End Community Centre spoken about the impact on health and that it was well understood by health professionals.

No photography was allowed inside the Hammersmith Town Hall. You had to be there, with most of the seats taken, and the Cabinet at the far end, near the stage.

But the Cabinet was upstaged by the people. For more than 90 minutes questions and comments were given, but the replies (which came at the end) were limp and scripted. The audience and the speakers spoke with a passion that was lacking in the push button approach of the ruling group. Even the Oppostion members of Cabinet did not get answers to their cogent and searching questions.


  1. Village, neighbourhood and community halls all over the UK are under threat from this sort of sell-off. Good luck with your campaign. We may be following in your footsteps like many others.

    Linus Rees
    chair of trustees, Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association

  2. Linus,

    Many thanks for your words of support.