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Campaign to save popular Drum' community centre

PUBLISHED: 15:57 18 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:08 12 August 2010

RESIDENTS are pleading with a council to only sell a community centre to a private buyer if it will be kept for public use. The Drum centre, in Parish Lane, Penge, is

RESIDENTS are pleading with a council to only sell a community centre to a private buyer if it will be kept for public use.

The Drum centre, in Parish Lane, Penge, is due to come before Bromley council at a portfolio meeting on Tuesday, March 31 to discuss possible 'options' for how the site can be used.

It originally went up for sale in summer last year, but the purchaser, from the Gujarati community, pulled out last month.

Bromley council says it is not cost effective for them to maintain the building, but can't promise to sell it to a buyer who will keep it for the community.

Businessman Lenny Newton, 56, of Blenheim Road, Penge, said: "I have a million ideas for it. I want to make it the jewel in Penge's crown.

"People need somewhere to go. It would give kids something to do. I want to have old films for the pensioners and we could have a gym and a crèche. I get really excited about it, I'm spinning plates.

"Penge needs a community centre. It used to be a great place and it still is but some people living here now are dysfunctional and don't want to communicate. A centre for the people would help that."

Another group that was interested in buying the centre last time it came up for tender is Platform Penge, an organisation which helps young mothers.

Vicar Nick Read, from the Holy Trinity Church in Lennard Road, Penge, is a supporter of Platform Penge. He said: "There is a real lack of community centres in the Penge area. We were disappointed when we didn't get the centre last time but we are determined to find a place for people to go. We are quite excited."

One idea he suggested was having a community café which could be run by people training for NVQs and other qualifications.

He said: "It is a very creative way of going about social enterprise and helping people who have needs. What I'd really like to see is organisations working together because you have more power that way."

Councillor for Penge, John Getgood, said: "If it was down to me I would keep it for the use of the community but the council is intent on selling it. It is not cost effective for them. We would be very angry if it was turned in to flats."

A council spokesperson for the council was unavailable for comment. The meeting takes place on March 31 at the Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley.

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