Centerprise Community and Arts Centre in Dalston has been given a date for an eviction hearing at the London Central Court.
The hearing is scheduled to take place on 15 October and could bring about the end of the forty-one year old institution, long a vibrant centre of radical culture, Caribbean cuisine, and a place of community support.
The disagreement between Centerprise and Hackney Council dates back to November 2011 when according to Centerprise CEO Emmanuel Amevor, the council, who is the community centre’s landlord, raised the rent on the property to £37,000 a year.
Although Hackney Council has stated that it has no wish to evict Centerprise, it has made clear that it considers the current peppercorn rent of £10 per week to be Insufficient for a “double shop-front property on a busy high street.”
Centerprise regards the rent increase to be neither plausible nor expected, as it considers the premises to have been bought by Hackney Council for the sole use of Centerprise by a capital grant awarded to the arts organisation in 1984 under the Inner City Partnership Fund.
With the court date looming, Centerprise has accused Hackney Council of “attempting to stunt the growth, education, opportunities and talents of everyone, especially our young people and elders” and is calling upon the Hackney community to support its cause by spreading the word and additionally, writing to Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe.
An online petition, STOP Hackney Council attempting to close down Centerprise Trust Ltd, was also launched in November 2011 and currently has 690 signatures.
To sign the petition go to Petition Buzz – Save Centerprise.