Councillors clash at protest to save Sotheby Mews day centre
Councillor clashes with protestors against Highbury day centre closure on Town Hall steps
22 September, 2017 — By Emily Finch
Lead campaigner Irma Gomez shouts at Town Hall housing chief Cllr Ward through her megaphone
Pensioners furious at the closure of their day centre in Highbury took their protest to the steps of the Town Hall yesterday.
The over-65s alongside their grandchildren and family members gathered in the rain ahead of a full council meeting to oppose the closure of Sotheby Mews Day Centre.
Users say they were not consulted on the planned closure of the centre in Sotheby Road while Town Hall chiefs failed to visit them to discus the move.
Housing chief Cllr Diarmaid Ward clashed with the Green Party’s Cllr Caroline Russell who had joined protestors on the steps to sing songs and wave banners calling for the preservation of the centre.
Cllr Ward accused Cllr Russell of using the campaign to promote her party while Cllr Russell said councillors repeatedly cancelled meetings with users to discuss with them the future of the centre.
“We have people here who want to be able to discuss what this decision means for them,” said Cllr Russell.
When Cllr Ward tried to address protestors he was shouted down by Irma Gomez, 80, on her megaphone who shouted: “You will never close Sotheby centre. We will keep this centre open señior.”
Gathered protestors against day centre closure at the Town Hall
Pensioners fear they will not receive the same services at the new Highbury Roundhouse community centre a mile-and-half away which already houses a youth centre.
The Town Hall say the move will see much needed social houses built on the site and the new centre will offer a full range of services.
During the full Council meeting Cllr Ward agreed to meet users in the centre but that “users will be moving to a brand new centre at the Highbury Roundhouse.”