Residents were banned almost two years ago from using Dibdin Hall on the Dibdin House estate by owners Grainger, which cited “health and safety” concerns. But residents said they were being barred because developers feared it would jeopardise plans to turn it into housing.
After a hard-fought battle with the support of former MP Karen Buck, who is seeking re-election in May, community groups have been allowed access to the hall during the week.
Polly Robertson, 47, who has lived in the estate for 30 years, said: “We’re so happy. This is something that we’ve fought for for a long time, to keep something that the Dibdin House residents have always had – people have even got married there in the past.
“To have it taken away from us, we had no community, no means of communication. We have to thank Karen Buck and her team who have been instrumental in making this happen.”
Ms Buck said: “This is fabulous news. Dibdin House has an incredible sense of community, there are a lot of people who have been there for 50 years and always run activities there. When they lost the hall they lost the heart of Dibdin House, it’s a real win to get that back.”
Grainger’s Karen Burfield, responsible for managing Dibdin House, said: “We are pleased to confirm that following our review… and the work undertaken by Ms Robertson and others to set up a residents’ association, we have reached an agreement whereby we are able to make the hall available.
“To ensure that the space was safe and secure, it was necessary to undertake certain health and safety works… and ensure insurance and other protections were in place.
“We are happy that we’ve been able to reach this positive outcome and look forward to working with the residents going forward.”
Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Karen Buck both at 4g Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY