Way back in 2007 I blogged about a depressing visit to Centerprise, the Community and Arts centre on Kingsland High Street in Dalston.
My post was entitled "The Decline of Centerprise". A recent visit suggested this has continued apace. The cafe was empty, many of the books a series of slapshod piles, the counter mostly unmanned and some of the content pretty close to the knuckle as regards anti-Semitism (Check out some of the more conspiratorial DVDs, or the Nation of Islam books that are stocked to see what I mean).
The current issue of Hackney Citizen informs us that Centerprise is on the verge of eviction, after Hackney Council's November 2011 decision to increase its rent from £10 a week to £37,000 per annum. Peppercorn rents were often charged by left wing Council's to community organisations in the 1980s, with varying degrees of justification. It is harder to justify such practices today, or why Centerprise should get the location they have, in perpetuity, ahead of any other group or organisation. Especially given the state of the place.
There is an online petition to oppose 'Hackney Council attempting to close down Centerprise Trust Ltd'. I won't be signing it. If Emmanuel Amevor, the grandly titled CEO of Centerprise wants to make a go at running a bookshop and cafe, good luck to him. He should however do it without the subsidy of Hackney's council tax payers.