Jacksons Lane: outcome of Arts Council meeting

Lynne Featherstone MP and Cllr Neil Williams petition Arts Council over Jacksons Lane Community CentreWell – Neil Williams (Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition on Haringey Council) and I met with Moira Sinclair of the Arts Council this morning to plead for the Arts Council to overturn their proposal to cut funding to Jacksons Lane Community Centre. The Arts Council meet to make this decision on Thursday.

We have been swamped with responses to our petition which we handed in – thanks to everyone who responded; we will keep sending them in.

I was very impressed with Ms Sinclair. She was thorough, rigorous and efficient in her summation of why our beloved Jackson’s Lane is under threat. And it was crystal clear that she felt we are in this position because Haringey Council has not given it the necessary backing – neither financial nor emotional – over the last five years. And that has given the Arts Council concerns over the future financial management and property maintenance.

It was made quite clear that there is hope and the decision is overturnable – but at this eleventh hour I think perhaps only Haringey Council coming forward with complete commitment to the repair and renewal of the building and some matched funding would sway the members of the Arts Council when they sit on Thursday.

Haringey have – at this late point – responded to the consultation positively – but will there be any money on the table? It is their track record over the years before that I fear has led the Arts Council to put this terrible question mark over the centre’s head. Neil and I put our best foot forward, saying we would do our utmost to ensure that the corner had been turned.

Labour on Haringey Council really need to come up with the rescue package that can influence the final decision on Thursday. We certainly made it plain that this is a vital arts and performing arts facility in West Haringey and much loved and much needed by local people.

Perhaps the chink of light is that out of 75 organisations that are to have their funding completely or partially cut – there will probably be a couple who are saved from the axe. Let’s hope that Jackson’s Lane is one of them. With the enormous local community support and Neil and my pleas – we wait with baited breath and everything crossed!