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Listening council… but not when it comes to day centre

24 May, 2019

Campaigners fighting to save Sotheby Mews Day Centre

• ISLINGTON Council purports to be a listening council and also uses the strapline “Democracy in action” so it was with interest that I read recent articles in the Tribune.

Transport for London, when presented with a 500-signature petition by four councillors – from the picture provided – reconsidered its position over shortening and removing bus routes and indeed rescinded its plans, (TfL backs down on plans to cut N271 and 19 buses, April 19).

The other good news came from Holloway Prison site in that 1,000 new dwellings are planned, with more than 60 per cent genuinely affordable, (Holloway prison: MOJ sold the site to Peabody for £82million who plan to build 1,000 homes , March 8).

I need to ask why then, when a petition from more than 2,000 residents has been presented to the council regarding the closure of Sotheby Mews Day Centre, and services provided there moved elsewhere, no changes from the original plans have been seen. Listening and hearing are miles apart.

The current plan is to build 10 houses on the site, which is commendable, but with the “windfall” of Holloway Prison there is ample room to consider mixed use on this site.

We accuse central government of destroying communities through austerity, but in a caring society sectors of the community should not be set adrift at the expense of others. We do not need to lose unique community assets, particularly those that provide a self-supporting infrastructure for the elderly.

Redevelop, but with the whole community in mind. Provide community space as well as housing on this site. Hear and recognise what local people want and need. Altering your mind when circumstances change shows flexibility and strength of character.

Democracy comes from the Greek language and means “rule by the (simple) people”. There is also an Icelandic adage: “A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.” Which one will you be Islington Council?

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