Bromley Council 'abandoning youth of Penge' by selling off building used as youth club (From News Shopper)
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Bromley Council 'abandoning youth of Penge' by selling off building used as youth club
A PASTOR has accused Bromley Council of "abandoning the youth of Penge" over plans to sell a building being used as a club for local children.
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Snowdown Close, Penge, closed in February this year.
Christ Central Church approached the council in May, around the time Kadar Hussein was shot dead in nearby Kenilworth Road, with plans to use the building as a youth club.
The council gave the church permission to use the building rent-free, but has now decided to sell it to the highest bidder.
Pastor John Wheeler, of Christ Central Church in Green Lane, Penge, said: "They shut the CAB down and the building did lend itself for a youth centre so we approached the council.
"We thought it was a real waste of a council asset when it could be used for all sorts of activities for young people in the area, so we put forward a bunch of ideas of what we would run.
"They agreed to let us use it until they decided what to do with it.
"We cleaned it all up, cut the grass, cut down all the bushes and the weeds.
"And now they have decided to pass it on to the highest bidder."
John Wheeler outside the old CAB.
The church runs a football club on the fields next to the CAB on a Saturday, as well as a dance club and a homework club.
The 65-year-old said: "We are probably going to put an offer in, but we just cannot compete with a developer, who'll probably just convert it into flats.
"They have already sold The Drum which was a youth club in the area.
"There is nothing for the youth in Penge to do.
"Slowly but surely they are abandoning the youth of Penge."
A council spokeswoman said: "Following the council’s informal tender process to lease this property, interest for a community use was disappointing.
"We always consider our options carefully when managing our assets and it is important to do this, particularly during this period of financial challenges, with residents aware of the unavoidable need for continued budget reductions.
"In this challenging financial climate, the council is committed to protecting front line services as far as possible for residents and to do this significant savings must be made which is why we are offering this building for sale."
Click here to sign a petition to save the youth centre.
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