Hyde Housing circulated a letter to all residents at the end of July saying that they are planning to redevelop the Community Centre and Oval Arts Depot site. The letter said that they plan to demolish and then rebuild the Centre and Depot buildings, and to build new flats on the site. This letter can be seen below.
Many residents will remember that Hyde made similar proposals nearly a decade ago. When those plans fell through, Hyde handed management of the Centre over to volunteers from the Tenants’ & Residents’ Association and supported us in forming a charitable Community Benefit Society to run it democratically. Despite having to close during Covid-19 lockdowns, the Community Centre has flourished. It is financially viable, and provides space for many groups, including a drama school and historical fencers, faith groups, a youth club, several after-school clubs, Zumba exercise for older people, and a venue for residents and our neighbours to hold parties, meetings, and social events. With grant funding from Lambeth Council and in partnership with Simply Smiley, we host highly popular school holiday fun and food projects for our kids. Last winter we opened our doors as a warm hub offering a free hot lunch on Mondays – and we plan to do the same this winter.
With Hyde’s blessing, Shannon and her team took over the derelict building fronting Harleyford Street during the first lockdown, renovated the building, and turned it into a highly successful arts venue, putting on events at Christmas and during test matches, and providing space for rehearsals and other activities. She has created a ‘secret garden’ in the heart of the inner city. The Arts Depot and the Community Centre work closely together, using both buildings and courtyards for several of our children’s activities; and we have told Hyde that the whole site should be considered as one.
We believe it’s important that Estate residents and users of the Centre and the Arts Depot have an early say on Hyde’s proposals. We recognise that their plans are at an early stage but that is all the more reason for our voices to be heard.
Our plans for organising a residents’ meeting in early September have had to be put on hold due to technical problems but we aim to hold it within the next few weeks. Watch this space!230726-Kennington-Estate-Residents-Letter