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Fate of threatened east london bookshop to be decided

CENTERPRISE: A public meeting is being held at 6.00pm to discuss its future

A PUBLIC meeting is being held later this evening (Jan 16) to discuss the ongoing fight to save one of Britain’s oldest black community centres and book shops.

Historical black bookshop Centerprise Trust Community and Arts Centre was evicted from its east London premises on November 2 last year after a year-long legal battle with Hackney Council.

But organisers have appealed the decision and are calling on the public to come out to the Trinity Centre on Beechwood Road in Dalston, east London to discuss developments in the campaign. The meeting starts at 6:00 pm this evening.

“We issued an action for Judicial Review against Hackney Council on 2nd January,” Emmanuel Amevor, CEO of the Centerprise Trust told the Voice. "The campaign to keep Centerprise open continues despite the seizure of our premises by Hackney Council. You are invited to a public meeting to discuss the next stage of the struggle."

Organisers said they are to give updates on the eviction by Hackney Council and on legal action they are taking against Hackney Council as well as discuss subjects such as the Centerprise Defence Fund and a temporary New Home for Centerprise.

In what was described as a "sad day for the people of Hackney", the shop, which was known as a 'cultural hub' in the area, lost its Kingsland High Street home after trustees were taken to court by Hackney Council following a lengthy dispute over rent.Centerprise lost its court case but

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.

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.

But council officials have disputed this.

Hackney Council, in a statement last year, said it took back the building at 136-138 Kingsland High Street because Centerprise "failed to comply with a Court Order requiring them to give up possession of that building by 23 October 2012".

It added:”…For many months Hackney Council committed to working with Centerprise to resolve this situation, but unfortunately despite our best efforts the Council was left with no other course of action.”

The Council said it still plans to have voluntary or community organisations to use the building to provide services to the people of Hackney.

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