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Highbury pensioners’ plea to Corbyn: ‘Save our day centre’

Sotheby Mews Day Centre, which could become a site for affordable homes, is set for switch to Roundhouse

13 July, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Jeremy Corbyn, left, listens to Liz Clare, second from right

A GROUP of pensioners pleaded with Jeremy Corbyn to preserve their much-loved day care centre in an emotional meeting on Friday.

Around 30 users of Sotheby Mews Day Centre in Highbury, which offers art classes, hot meals and day trips, asked the Islington North MP to intervene in their planned relocation to Highbury Roundhouse almost a mile away.

Animal rights activist Liz Clare, 80, was in tears while pointing out the garden that she fears will be destroyed if the Town Hall carries through its plans for turning the site into affordable homes.

She said: “It’s beautiful with all the wildlife and the birds. We should be caring about the environment.”

The Town Hall insists that the pensioners will be well catered for at Highbury Roundhouse, which currently houses youth clubs.

Ms Clare said: “They won’t have room for us there… I feel that we are not wanted, we’ve worked for the country and now here’s a big eraser to get rid of us.”

Campaigner Irma Gomez, who brought an online petition with 2,000 signatures to the Town Hall prompting a debate, also begged Mr Corbyn to ask for a rethink at the council.

She said: “Please don’t take away this centre without considering how it affects us. I am on my way out but my children and grandchildren deserve a nice place.”

Mr Corbyn took notes throughout the meeting and said: “I very strongly support community centres.”

But he also added that there was a desperate need for affordable homes. He said: “We have a housing crisis in the borough. I have constituents in private rented flats desperate for somewhere secure to live. Is there common ground we can find to go forward? Because I don’t want to fight about this.”

The pensioners said they are not against affordable homes and they would back plans to build new flats over their centre.

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