Durning Hall protest 2 October, photo Niall Mulholland

Durning Hall protest 2 October, photo Niall Mulholland   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Niall Mulholland, East London Socialist Party

Durning Hall in Forest Gate, east London, has been used by local groups to meet for six decades. But the charity that runs it, Aston-Mansfield, has submitted a planning application for redevelopment, including 78 homes. The vast majority of the homes will be unaffordable.

90% of the community space will be lost. The remaining 10% will only be available at Aston-Mansfield’s discretion, ie not for public use.

On 2 October, 100 people protested to say: “Hands off our community space”. Socialist Party member Lois Austin helped to run the protest. Lois said tearing down Durning Hall was yet another shameful act of gentrification in Newham, to the disadvantage of working-class people.

Speakers from group after group lined up to oppose the regeneration. Socialist Party member Ferdy Lyons grew up using Durning Hall. He said its closure will see many activities cease for local youth.