THE WANDSWORTH VOICE

The Cat’s Back back ….

After a few years in the doldrums The Cat’s back with a vengeance … having lost a couple of lives this rejuvenated Cat now means business…. and pleasure ….

Culture, cuisine, cinéma, camaraderie, clientèle, charme, chanson …. anyone might be forgiven for thinking that there is now a French connection …

http://www.thecatsback.com

One is minded to refer to this as the purrfect pub ….

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Cheers ….

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THE WANDSWORTH VOICE

Talking about Regeneration

The writer hasn’t visited a Sports Centre for a decade or three and he’s certainly never been to a local Borough Council Committee Meeting before.

But yesterday evening there was chance to hear about the one and witness the other.

It was indeed impressive to hear the impassioned views and thoughtful comments of staff and users of the ‘under threat of closure’ Battersea Sports Centre.

It was equally depressive to observe that their pleas fell on the deaf ears of the members of the Planning Committee, whose minds were almost certainly made up already.

Whilst it is obviously valid to contemplate and propose large-scale regeneration projects – and then undertake consultation with ‘disrupted’ residents – it is surely both devious and dubious practice not to mention key implications of the changes.

In this instance that to accommodate ‘decanted’ residents the much-loved and much-used local sports/community/activity centre would be razed to the ground within the next 12 months.

With its replacement being ready in some 3 to 5 years – that’s forward planning for you, Wandsworth-style.

Talking about Their Generation

It is a reasonably well-charted hypothesis that community institutions, such as the Battersea Sports Centre, act as key objects of ‘social cohesion’. Therefore by definition closing it down will almost certainly lead to ‘social division’.

As Wandsworth moves, like many London boroughs, to a markedly younger demographic composition surely it is the role of the local authority to maintain, enhance and not terminate such centres and to build for the future of its residents.

Talking about Degeneration

So … what started out as an honourable regeneration project is fast becoming a dishonourable degeneration farce. And like a lot of farce it is not funny at all.

THE WANDSWORTH VOICE

What an interesting Wandsworth Borough Planning Committee meeting it promises to be on Tuesday evening, February 10th!

A deputation regarding the proposed closure of the Battersea Sports Centre will be heard. And what a good case they have – as we have already indicated on this site. Why shut down a well-used and valuable community facility and then not have its replacement ready for another 4 years?

The well-charted social cohesion benefits that this existing facility offers must not be ignored.

This really should be the kind of opportunity for opposition political parties to come together to force our local council into a U-turn.

We shall report on the meeting’s decisions and comments on Wednesday morning – both on this site and with follow-up communications in the local press.

Let us hope that for once the Voice of Wandsworth citizens will be both heard and acted upon. This will be a change for the better.

Written with feeling by Len James and John Fowler – caring and thoughtful people both.