Anger as Council Approves Sales of Irish Centre and Palingswick House

Hammersmith buildings among eight included in sell off

Campaigners who gathered at Hammersmith Town Hall last night, Monday February 7, were angry and disappointed as H & F council cabinet, as expected, ignored protests from the community and voted to approve the sale of eight buildings, including Hammersmith's Irish Centre and Palingswick House.

Local MP Andy Slaughter, who spoke to the crowds protesting in King Street, described the decision as "galling".

And he echoed the view expressed on many of the protestors' placards, saying: "The big society is a big joke."

Palingswick House, which currently houses 21 community and voluntary groups, is expected to be sold to West London Free School, while the Irish Cultural Centre, as sitting tenants of the building in Blacks Road, have the right of first refusal on the premises, but this requires that they raise the £2.3 million asking price by next April. If they cannot raise the money, it will be sold on the open market.

Other buildings approved for sale are Fulham Town Hall, Sands End Community Centre, Shepherd's Bush Village Hall, Distillery Lane Children's Centre, Askham Family Centre and the Greswell Centre which is currently home to HAFAD or Hammersmith and Fulham Action on Disability.

The council said it was approving the sales of "under-used" buildings following a public consultation in autumn.

" I will be there on Monday protesting their short-sighted policies and hundreds of people, of all political stripes from all parts of our community, will be there too."

The council says a report recommended the sales following a public consultation carried out over the Autumn.

Before the meeting, Council Leader, Councillor Stephen Greenhalgh said: "  We have had a very wide-ranging consultation on the sale of these sites and I appreciate the contributions that local people have made.

" I understand how difficult some people have found it to come to terms with the budget pressures we are facing, but the reality is, we have no choice but to reduce our spending and whether it is right to sell buildings rather than cut services will be decided by Cabinet on February 7."

February 8, 2011