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News / 8 August, 2012

Centerprise eviction threat looms

Embattled Dalston community centre calls for support as an October date is revealed for the court hearing

Emmanuel Amevor CEO Centerprise Trust

Emmanuel Amevor, CEO at Centerprise Trust. Photograph: Antonio Curcetti

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.

/ 8 August, 2012
  • Lala Isla

    I support Centreprise 100%. While I understand that the actual rent is very low what the Council asks is absolutely ridiculous for a cultural enterprise of its kind. If Centreprise goes an institution that has given cultural opportunities to many people will disapear and another alcohol provider will be in its place disturbing even more neighbors around with noise and debris.

    Lala Isla

  • Pete Kalu

    On the face of it, the Council holds the property in trust for Centerprise and as such is not entitled to ask for more than a peppercorn rent.

  • Mandingo

    If Centerprise is owned by Centerprise,why should Centerprise pay rent to the Council?

  • Charlie Lloyd

    Forty years ago finding Centerprise changed my life forever.

    I was a young, isolated immigrant to London. At Centerprise I found space and time to rest, read and think. I got involved in some activities and events. I became involved in a network of people engaged in changing the community we live in. Through that network of friends I found housing, employment, training and support that has led to most of the good things that have happened since.

    What is Hackney Council for if it cannot support such enterprise.

  • I find it hard to believe the councils claim that it has no desire to ‘evict’ Centerprise.

    This is especially since it has been revealed that the council has failed to engage in meaningful mediation with the charity and continues to seek corporate levels of rent.

    How can it be that the council all of a sudden views a Charity it has accepted for 42 years as a community organisation as a business?

    Centerprise has given back more to the local community than virtually all of the politicians who have come and gone in Hackney Council.

  • Hmm…I need to get writing.

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