The gentrification of a treasured Notting Hill venue at the heart of the local black community for almost 40 years has triggered a row over "economic apartheid" in the area.Wha..?
Residents say the Tabernacle in Powis Square, a community centre since the early Seventies when Notting Hill was on the front line of racial tension in London, has become elitist and expensive.Oh, noes!
Ishmahil Blagrove, 27, a documentary film-maker and resident, said: "Big business has moved in and the community is being moved out. There are youths who have nothing to do now, spaces have gone for commercial ventures."I do love the implied threat therein, don't you?
Locals, including South African actress Janet Suzman, said that the Tabernacle, occupied by squatters in "the siege of Notting Hill" in 1973 and closely linked with the foundation of the Carnival, has become another "trendy bar for bankers".Because when it was a 'trendy bar for dropouts, deadbeats and hippies', it was so much better...
One, who gave his name as Emmanuel, said: "We've got a lot of disenfranchised youths who play in the park, they've got nothing to do. The pricing here means that if these youths want to come in here, they can't afford a glass of soda.That's the way of the world, chum. As the council is at great pains to point out:
"We've got kids coming from private schools who can afford to hire the hall in their little straw hats but we can't afford it."
… council bosses, who provide a £95,000 annual subsidy for the Tabernacle, which has had a chequered financial history, have said it has to be more commercial to survive.Translation: "Sorry, Denzil and Leroy, the money tap's been turned off.."