In November last year we announced that we were undertaking a review of our community centres and we launched a consultation on our recommendations for the future of the centres. This included the Kennington Park Community Centre, which formed part of a site that was due to be redeveloped to provide a new retail store, new flats and a replacement community centre.
After a thorough review and careful consideration of the consultation feedback we have made the difficult decision that because Hyde is no longer able to financially support the community centre. Our development colleagues are reviewing the options for the site and a final decision as to whether we are able to offer a replacement community centre as part of the redevelopment of the Harleyford site will be considered as part of that process. Our decision that we cannot directly manage the current or any future centre will also be part of the considerations in any future development of the site. Our interim recommendation is to work with the local community to explore how the centre can be kept open and available for community use over the next 12 months.
This decision making process has not been entered into lightly and we know this outcome will disappoint many. Unfortunately, we are operating in a more challenging environment than when we originally introduced our plans for the estate in November 2014 and this recommendation will allow us to make savings that will be invested in building new homes to help address the housing crisis in London and the South-east. In the UK we are building only half the homes we need and Hyde has a responsibility to increase the number of homes we are building in order to help address this crisis. This comes at a time when we are also operating in a more challenging environment as we are affected by the 4 year 1% rent reduction for social housing tenants introduced by the Government. Hyde, like housing associations across the country, has to make cost savings and has had to review all non-housing services, including Hyde Plus and all of the Community Centres, as the savings and efficiencies we need to make are greater than they might otherwise be.
We want to thank all of you that took part in the consultation. Your opinions really do matter to us and we acknowledge that this is not the outcome that many of you hoped for, but your views have influenced our decision to keep the centre open during the redevelopment planning phase, how we will support those groups using the centre and how Hyde Plus can continue to support this community going forward.
What happens next – the redevelopment?
The plans for the redevelopment will now need to be revised and residents will be kept informed about the changes. We expect to provide you with an opportunity to view the updated plans over the coming months as we progress these, before we submit a planning application.
What happens next – the community centre?
There will be no immediate changes at the centre and services currently provided will continue for the immediate future. As stated above, we are in discussions with local community groups to look at options to keep the centre open during the planning phase for the redevelopment. When we have more information about the immediate plans to manage the centre we will contact you again.
Over the next few weeks we will be meeting with the groups and organisations that currently use the centre to understand their needs and ensure we can support them during this period of transition.
We will work hard to identify groups and organisations that may be able to take on the management of the building for the next 12 months and we are also asking any organisations or groups who are interested in doing so to contact us at email@example.com. We are asking for any interested groups or organisations to contact us by 5pm Friday 3 March 2017.
We received 24 responses to the consultation. The key issues and questions raised from the responses have been summarised here.
We have contacted the following people so that they are aware of the decision we have taken and what happens next:
- The local Tenants and Residents Association
- Local MPs
- Local Councillors
- The groups and organisations who currently use/hire the Community Centres
We are now supporting Hyde staff affected by this decision and a 45 day employment consultation will begin shortly. We will, if possible, redeploy affected colleagues, but redundancy is an option.
How to contact us:
If you have any questions about this process then the quickest way to get in touch is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org