'Tragic waste' as Bromley Council sells off Penge building being used as youth centre

This Is Local London: Left to right: Tre Hamilton, 12, Leon Rusbagatabaro, 12, Malachi Hogan-Bassey, 13, at the mixing desk Left to right: Tre Hamilton, 12, Leon Rusbagatabaro, 12, Malachi Hogan-Bassey, 13, at the mixing desk

A pastor has made a final plea to save a Penge youth centre after the council confirmed it is selling the building to a property developer.

News Shopper ran a story in December last year when Pastor John Wheeler, of Christ Central Church, accused Bromley Council of "abandoning the youth of Penge".

He said the council was selling the old Citizen's Advice Bureau in Snowdown Close - which was being used by the church as a club for local children.

This Is Local London:

Left to right: Fabio Bajrami, 13, and Matty Jones, 13 enjoy a gane of pool at the youth centre

Teenager Kadar Hussein had been shot outside the building in May, and the centre was seen by many as a way of rebuilding the community.

The council initially gave the Green Lane church permission to use the building rent-free, but then decided to sell it.

The church has since bid £100,000 to buy the property, but a different bid was accepted. 

Senior pastor Glenn Paten said: "I felt this was the perfect opportunity for the council to demonstrate in Penge that they are willing to give to the local community, to help build a better Penge.

"It just seems like such a tragic waste.

"It's not just a place for the children to hang out - it's a place where they can be creative, it's a really positive community atmosphere.

"Nearly every week we have a parent drop in to let us know how pleased they are this is happening."

This Is Local London:

Leon Rusbagatabaro, 12, and Malachi Hogan-Bassey, 13, play table tennis

The church runs a club on Wednesday evenings where children can play table tennis, pool, Xbox, record their own music and chat with youth leaders and other volunteers from the church and community.

A football workshop is also held every Saturday morning.

Former Labour councillor John Getgood, who recently stepped down after representing the area for 12 years, said: "There are very few youth activities in Penge and very little council-inspired youth work.

"Here we are presented with the perfect chance to address this and this is what happens.

"It shows the council's priorities - they are more interested in lining their coffers than doing something positive for the community.

"I got into local politics because I wanted to get out into the community and improve it but this council seems to do as little of this sort of work as they can, and this is a prime example of that."

This Is Local London:

Left to right: Max Eaton, Peter Heath, Glenn Paten and John Wheeler, who run the youth centre

Executive councillor for resources Graham Arthur said: "The Christ Central Church is doing good work and this is was why the council allowed the church to temporarily use the vacant building. 

"Youth provision is important and indeed, the council’s own youth services are located less than a mile away but the long term future of this building has been uncertain. 

"The council has carefully considered all the options, including community uses and the potential for much needed housing.

"While the church did submit a bid, the council has accepted another offer and any monies raised will ultimately be used to support stretched council services which include supporting the most vulnerable in our community."

To sign a petition to save the youth centre, click here.

Comments (5)

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12:23pm Thu 29 May 14

Peony says...

Councellor Arthur's response is the usual mealy mouthed rhetoric we have come to expect from this council.

So it is either the youth club or helping the vulnerable. How despicable to use the vulnerable as an excuse for not saving the youth club. Shameful.
Councellor Arthur's response is the usual mealy mouthed rhetoric we have come to expect from this council. So it is either the youth club or helping the vulnerable. How despicable to use the vulnerable as an excuse for not saving the youth club. Shameful. Peony
  • Score: 4

1:13pm Thu 29 May 14

Eagles_Man says...

The youth club was running before they were granted temporary use of the centre. Clearly Labour don't think there's a need for more housing in Penge.

Surely it's a case of "How despicable (for Labour) to use the youth as an excuse not to release a site for much needed new homes. Shameful."
The youth club was running before they were granted temporary use of the centre. Clearly Labour don't think there's a need for more housing in Penge. Surely it's a case of "How despicable (for Labour) to use the youth as an excuse not to release a site for much needed new homes. Shameful." Eagles_Man
  • Score: -3

1:32pm Thu 29 May 14

Wispy Wonder says...

Common sense at last!

It's a large site that could be used for much needed housing, as opposed to a once-a-week youth club for a few bored kids. The council also has a responsibility to make best use of its assets, which selling the site for a paltry £100K would fail to do.

It's not as if there aren't other church buildings on Green Lane that could be used. What about the enormous new 'church' there or the one in the old furniture shop? Make do with that and give other people somewhere to live.
Common sense at last! It's a large site that could be used for much needed housing, as opposed to a once-a-week youth club for a few bored kids. The council also has a responsibility to make best use of its assets, which selling the site for a paltry £100K would fail to do. It's not as if there aren't other church buildings on Green Lane that could be used. What about the enormous new 'church' there or the one in the old furniture shop? Make do with that and give other people somewhere to live. Wispy Wonder
  • Score: 2

5:08pm Thu 29 May 14

mouthalmighty says...

Eagles_Man wrote:
The youth club was running before they were granted temporary use of the centre. Clearly Labour don't think there's a need for more housing in Penge.

Surely it's a case of "How despicable (for Labour) to use the youth as an excuse not to release a site for much needed new homes. Shameful."
Its all about money, in it. These houses, are they going to be council house or affordable or the locals. Or, are the going to sell at extortionate prices to welcome the new generation of yuppies.
[quote][p][bold]Eagles_Man[/bold] wrote: The youth club was running before they were granted temporary use of the centre. Clearly Labour don't think there's a need for more housing in Penge. Surely it's a case of "How despicable (for Labour) to use the youth as an excuse not to release a site for much needed new homes. Shameful."[/p][/quote]Its all about money, in it. These houses, are they going to be council house or affordable or the locals. Or, are the going to sell at extortionate prices to welcome the new generation of yuppies. mouthalmighty
  • Score: -1

9:25am Fri 30 May 14

goldenbroomboy says...

Wispy Wonder wrote:
Common sense at last!

It's a large site that could be used for much needed housing, as opposed to a once-a-week youth club for a few bored kids. The council also has a responsibility to make best use of its assets, which selling the site for a paltry £100K would fail to do.

It's not as if there aren't other church buildings on Green Lane that could be used. What about the enormous new 'church' there or the one in the old furniture shop? Make do with that and give other people somewhere to live.
The "other" churches are different denominations.

As for "much needed housing" it was that mentality which bricked over the last open fields in Anerley in the eighties.
[quote][p][bold]Wispy Wonder[/bold] wrote: Common sense at last! It's a large site that could be used for much needed housing, as opposed to a once-a-week youth club for a few bored kids. The council also has a responsibility to make best use of its assets, which selling the site for a paltry £100K would fail to do. It's not as if there aren't other church buildings on Green Lane that could be used. What about the enormous new 'church' there or the one in the old furniture shop? Make do with that and give other people somewhere to live.[/p][/quote]The "other" churches are different denominations. As for "much needed housing" it was that mentality which bricked over the last open fields in Anerley in the eighties. goldenbroomboy
  • Score: 2

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