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Historical black bookshop evicted from Hackney premises

CLOSED: Centerprise Trust Community and Arts Centre

AFTER A year-long legal battle historical black bookshop Centerprise Trust Community and Arts Centre were reportedly evicted from their east London premises last Friday [Nov 2].

The shop, which was known as a 'cultural hub' in the area, closed its doors after trustees were taken to court by Hackney Council following a lengthy dispute over rent.

MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott, has reacted with dismay after the closure: “This is a sad day for the people of Hackney. Centerprise, is an institution and, in my view, completely irreplaceable. Years of history lie in that shop. It has been a focal point for black literature in this country and has helped many Hackney locals with their literacy."

“I know that Labour Party in Hackney were very anxious that the Council continue negotiating with Centerprise. Ordinary people in Hackney know of Centerprise's rich history as a community centre and a cultural hub."

Earlier this year a £20k funding appeal was setup by the head of Centerprise to help pay for costly legal fees to fight the case against them.

"We are faced with a legal bill of minimum £20,000 to fight this grave injustice. Please contribute to the Centerprise Defence Fund," he said.

The centre's representatives previously said that they believed they had used a grant to purchase the building years ago. In addition, they said council officials wanted to raise rent levels for the Kingsland High Street-based from £10 per year to £37,000 per year.

Abbott said: "I am disappointed that it had to come to this. Hackney is a vibrant place because of centres such as Centreprise. there are other considerations beside merely how much we can charge per sq foot. Centerprise will be a huge loss."

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