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New lease for Offley Works

29/2/2008

London Development Agency offers new lease to former Brixton Base residents.

In a dramatic announcement, that will be warmly welcomed by many in London's Black communities, Offley Works the former home of Brixton Base is to remain open for community use.

The consortium of Black groups that were in occupation under the former lease holders Brixton Base are to remain.

A press release by the London Development Agency stated:

“The current occupants – led by Code 7 and Starlight Music Academy – have agreed to leave the property temporarily as the existing lease has expired, on the understanding that the London Development Agency will offer them a one-year lease next week”.

This represents a  clear victory for common sense against the backdrop of the Evening Standard and BBC London who have subjected Brixton Base Ltd to a vicious media campaign alleging corruption, fraud and falsely describing Offley Works as a hub of criminals. Many anti racists believe racial stereotyping is behind the focus on organisations in Brixton.

The criticisms have ignored  the fact that Brixton Base was the managing agent and worked with over 200 young people at risk of becoming involved in crime, literally saving lives of young black people.

The allegations are subject to Police investigation after being referred to the police by the London Development Agency.

Sources close to Brixton Base are confident that the current police investigation will find no evidence of corruption or fraud.

In relation to Offley Works London Labour Assembly member Val Shawcross who has worked tirelessly to save the building for community use said:

“Code 7 and Starlight Music Academy are doing important work with young people at risk in Lambeth and Southwark.  It is really fantastic that the LDA has found a way to recognise this and allow their work to continue.”

LDA Chief Executive Manny Lewis said:

“I am delighted that we have been able to reach a deal that means Offley Works will continue to be used to the benefit of the community ahead of its redevelopment.  I am grateful for the co-operation of everyone concerned.”

The LDA press release continues ” In the longer term, the LDA plans to redevelop the site and is in the process of commissioning a developer.  A design competition run by Design for London and the Architecture Foundation produced an exciting winning design by up and coming architects ƌa'.  The LDA is looking forward to seeing the winning design come to fruition in 2009.”

Despite the best efforts of the Evening Standard and  BBC London  the positive and sometimes life saving work with Black youth in Brixton  looks set to continue.

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