Eviction row at Bradford community centre

ROW: Cllr Ann Wallace with residents and users of Fagley Youth & Community Centre where the locks changed to shut them out.

ROW: Cllr Ann Wallace with residents and users of Fagley Youth & Community Centre where the locks changed to shut them out.

First published in News

A charity landlord has changed the locks at dawn at a thriving youth and community centre on a Bradford housing estate.

Staff at Fagley Youth & Community Centre were only alerted when the burglar alarm connected to the manger's home went off shortly before 5am today.

Campaigners claim the eviction over a rent-row was illegal and have won the support of Bradford Council in fighting their corner.

Council leader David Green said as soon as he heard the news he had asked a senior officer to fix up an emergency meeting with Newlands directors to try to negotiate an interim agreement for the use of the community centre.

Councillor Green said: "It's a very heavy handed response by Newlands that does not reflect well on the organisation.

"They have really damaged any relationship they had with that community and potentially that they may wish to have had with the Council. We will do our utmost to make sure that the community and its facilities are protected."

Ward Councillor Ann Wallace (Lib Dem, Eccleshill) has accused Newlands of doing a "landgrab" and steamrolling over anyone who gets in their way.

Cllr Wallace said: "This is certainly not the behaviour of a charity that has the community's interest at heart.

"They are bullies just doing a landgrab and are not going to let anyone or anything get in their way. They are steamrolling over us but we refuse to be flattened.

"Letters the centre was sent from them said money owed for rent had to be paid by the weekend, June 27 so that time had not run out. They were two days early - as far as we're concerned they broke in."

Tomorrow, a meeting of Bradford East Area Committee will look at a recommendation, already on the agenda, for the Council to take on the community centre as an asset.

"This would buy us time to see if we could raise money to buy the centre ourselves," said Cllr Wallace, who added: "Newlands knew this meeting was happening and that's why they locked us out early. It's underhand and diabolical."

Last month, the Telegraph & Argus reported how community centre bosses were shocked to get a rent bill for £15,000 which they claimed was part of a push to get them off site so it could be sold off, potentially making way for a new free school.

Sikh faith organisation, the Khalsa Foundation, is planning on opening an engineering academy there in September - which would six months before the youth and community centre's lease runs out.

Newlands had previously asked for the lease to be surrendered early and invited the centre to move to a new venue half-a mile away in the empty St John's Church.

Staff at the centre and other projects which use it today manned the gates and frantically made phone calls so people would not arrive only to be turned away.

Despite repeated attempts the T&A was not able to get a response from Newlands.

Comments (4)

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6:37pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Colin Allcars says...

Seems a good idea to get young people into engineering and I get the impression from reading this that the community centre was going to close this year for this.
I can remember walking down to the Blue Pig in days gone by and the woods weren't the tip they are now, Perhaps Morrison's staff who have damaged all the grass verges outside their head office could fund a clear up.
Certainly Fagley needs a community centre, maybe the answer is the centre by Gain Lane
Seems a good idea to get young people into engineering and I get the impression from reading this that the community centre was going to close this year for this. I can remember walking down to the Blue Pig in days gone by and the woods weren't the tip they are now, Perhaps Morrison's staff who have damaged all the grass verges outside their head office could fund a clear up. Certainly Fagley needs a community centre, maybe the answer is the centre by Gain Lane Colin Allcars
  • Score: -4

9:08pm Wed 25 Jun 14

son123 says...

Think a Newlands boycott is in order. Showing their true charitable spirits there, aint they!. Hope the council seize it as an asset and give it back to the community x
Think a Newlands boycott is in order. Showing their true charitable spirits there, aint they!. Hope the council seize it as an asset and give it back to the community x son123
  • Score: -4

3:48pm Thu 26 Jun 14

They only do damage! says...

Unfortunateley nobody cares about the indigenous white poor!!.
Unfortunateley nobody cares about the indigenous white poor!!. They only do damage!
  • Score: -4

5:16pm Thu 26 Jun 14

bals80 says...

They only do damage! wrote:
Unfortunateley nobody cares about the indigenous white poor!!.
What has this got to do with the colour of someone’s skin ? Stop being stupid. There are black/Asian people who are also supporting the community centre. Newlands have compromised by giving the community centre an alternative less than 1 mile down the road and still people aren't happy. There sometime no pleasing people. People are too stubborn to realise this.
[quote][p][bold]They only do damage![/bold] wrote: Unfortunateley nobody cares about the indigenous white poor!!.[/p][/quote]What has this got to do with the colour of someone’s skin ? Stop being stupid. There are black/Asian people who are also supporting the community centre. Newlands have compromised by giving the community centre an alternative less than 1 mile down the road and still people aren't happy. There sometime no pleasing people. People are too stubborn to realise this. bals80
  • Score: 7

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