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We need to save Southall Youth Centre aka Young Adult Centre and not allow Ealing Council to destroy it

Long standing Southall resident Minni Dogra is concerned over Ealing Council’s closure of Southall Youth Centre aka Young Adult Centre (YAC) and to date says there has been no meaningful engagement with the needs of young people. As a result, the Save Southall Youth Centre campaign has been set up to protect the site and the building. Here Minni writes about her concerns.

I understand that Southall Youth Centre (SYC) a.k.a. Young Adult Centre (YAC) in Park View Road Southall has been categorically told (by Ealing Council) that it will close in September 2022 and there will be no activities of any kind for young people at SYC.

I can confidently state that there has been no proper public consultation with the community despite the fact that local businesses contributed financially to the building costs of SYC in 2003. There has been no meaningful engagement of the needs of our young people. The SYC building is not dilapidated. And any demolition and redevelopment is unreasonable and unjustified.

Ealing Council acknowledges that centrally based easily accessible facilities are required for our youth, but still prefers to split the users between Dominion Centre in Old Southall and the Red Lion pub close by the Southall Broadway side.

Both are unsuitable: the former because it’s already fully used by various groups and organisations (including the main Library and Rise a charity group for substance abuse rehabilitation) and the latter, for obvious reasons cannot possibly be an option. Instead, the Council are forging ahead with detailed plans and drawings to submit to planning for the complete demolition of the SYC building and proceeding with a development of two blocks – 5 storey high-rise housing 60 flats. The SYC is purpose built with a back yard court for ball games and open green space.

The site and building must remain in its entirety and the open space retained. I know that several organisations and volunteers use SYC facility to support young people and schools. Is it appropriate to allow a housing development to take precedence over a desperately needed facility which forms part of our very limited infrastructure in a densely built up area? The Land Registry title to SYC site originally first registered as Vine Cottage in December 1961 by what now is the London Borough of Ealing (perhaps as statutory successor education authority to Middlesex County Council?). The title indicates (a Restriction) that the land is held under the Education Acts but nothing about any restrictive covenant.

Nevertheless, the site has been used for educational and youth facilities since the early 1970s. Many of us (who had nothing) grew up in Southall using SYC. It was a well located safe space back then and continues to be so. The Centre is fully supported by provision of various amenities. Presently, groups , organisations and individuals who are offering activities at SYC are being turned away because closure is imminent. I too have volunteered my time for supporting and teaching English as a second language. We have to bring these issues out in the open and Ealing Council must understand that SYC facility for our young people is far more important than their avaricious need to give up our valuable facility and land to yet more housing development for which there is no support in the community.

We must now hold Ealing Council to account and seek a revocation of whatever ‘decision’ has been issued by them. Anyone who can support our cause is welcome to attend our Save Southall Youth Centre – SSYC meetings held at Southall Town Hall, 1 High Street Southall UB1 3HA every Wednesday at 6pm. We are eager to welcome young people , teenagers and young adults to attend and express what the SYC facilities mean for them.

Please join our campaign this summer so that we can take our community’s protest to Ealing Council urgently.

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