IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Incumbent ward councillors who have remained silent over Sobell will struggle to retain their support

25 August, 2017

• WITH only a few days remaining before GLL/Better plans to make major, and effectively irreversible, unconsulted changes to Sobell Sports Hall, the campaign group against a recreational play area for businesses and parties, has offered a final opportunity, supported by Jeremy Corbyn, to meet the council executive and GLL to resolve this matter.

However, to date there has been no communication from the council executive indicating its willingness to meet.

Similarly, the council’s leisure department has still not yet acknowledged or responded to the reply sent by John Barber on August 17 following the council’s admission that indoor five-a-side football is possible at Sobell, but offering only a very limited number of hours on two occasions during the week that most regular players will find impossible.

The online petition at www.change.org/p/petition-to-save-the-sobell-centre-sports-hall/u/21103201 is growing hour by hour with a massive surge of support. Last Friday we had 1,274 signatures and this morning (Wednesday) we have 1,591 signatures.

People are finding the petition website from local newspapers and tweets sent out by MPs Catherine West and David Lammy, councillors Caroline Russell, Paul Convery and Gary Heather.

It is a matter of great regret to us that the other ward councillors, who have expressed concerns privately, felt unable to make their views public on this. We find the disregard by elected officials for the concerns of those who elect them extremely worrying.

We have checked the postcodes of everyone who has signed the petition. Many have Islington postcodes – EC1, EC2, N1, N4, N5, N6, N7, N16, N19.

This will not affect MP Jeremy Corbyn (as, in all our communications we have made it clear how supportive he has been), but it will be an issue at the next local election in May 2018.

My personal feeling is that those incumbent ward councillors who have chosen to remain silent on this project will struggle to retain the support of many voters in their wards. Many residents have said as much to me at Sobell, where many feel totally disenfranchised by the council executive’s closed and isolationist behaviour on this matter.

Sobell customers and residents will, even if this project goes ahead, continue to protest vigorously – until their opinions are considered.

BARRY HILL
Sobell customer representative

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