The Independent London Newspaper

 

Battle for Finsbury Health Centre goes to court

Cllr Martin Klute

‘We’re hoping the NHS get round the table with council,’ says Finsbury campaigner

Published: 29 October, 2010
by TOM FOOT

A STAND-OFF between campaigners and health chiefs over crucial refurbishment to the Finsbury Health Centre could be settled in the High Court.

The Save Finsbury Health Centre campaign has filed for judicial review following NHS Islington’s decision to reject recommendations from Islington Council.

Councillor Martin Klute’s six-month investigation said the NHS should help the council set up a charitable trust to refurbish and maintain the Grade I-listed building in Pine Street. But the health authority, which abandoned its plans to sell the centre following a three-year campaign, said it could not find the time or resources to help.

Finsbury Health Centre campaign chairwoman Barb Jacobson said: “NHS Islington completely rejected the council’s recommendations – but did not give any proper explanation why. 

“We felt that we must make sure there is some questioning of what they’ve done. 

“We’re hoping they will see sense and get round the table with the council.”

She said proposals to set up a charitable trust that would raise funds for refurbishment and take over the building are “progressing nicely”.

NHS Islington, which owns the centre, has said it would accept “serious proposals” to refurbish the building.

Health bosses told campaigners at a public meeting earlier this month to “find the money themselves”.

So, together with Islington Council’s health chief Martin Klute, they are in talks with Heritage of London Trust Operations (HOLTOps) about the plan. 

Meanwhile, English Heritage has demanded NHS Islington complete some urgent repairs to the centre before Christmas.

Ms Jacobson added: “In the meantime, both staff and patients make do with very bad conditions in parts of FHC, and most have somehow maintained their affection for the building as well as a strong commitment to seeing it refurbished and modernised.”

The trust plan will be discussed at a meeting in the Arts Centre, Roseberry Avenue, from 7pm on November 4.

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