Jack Hobbs Club

The Jack Hobbs Club Fiasco

In 2018, Southwark promised to return our community hall to Brandon residents’ use.

Two years on & £180k later, we are still waiting.

The Jack Hobbs Club was an integral part of the original design of the Brandon Estate.

It is located behind the Brandon library, and shopping parade on Maddock Way, and for many years was used as a social centre by our estate residents.

In its heyday it was used for parties, as a social and youth club, it had a bar, jukebox, pool tables, and it was run by Brandon residents, for Brandon residents.

However, Brandon residents have not been allowed to use the space for over 20 years.

In the late 1990s, Southwark Council took control of the space and chose to let it out to commercial tenants.

This, unfortunately, took away valuable social space from our residents and left us with just the use of a very small room within the building.

It also left our TRA financially bankrupt, as the main funding that most TRA’s receive are revenues generated from hall hire.

Murders on the Brandon

Following the murders of two teenagers on the Brandon estate, and some damning press coverage, Southwark council decided to look at youth and community engagement across the Brandon, and it was agreed that the Jack Hobbs Club was to be returned to community use and deliver youth engagement programmes.

Youth provision had been pretty much non-existent since the hall had been taken from the Brandon community.

In October 2018, Stephen Douglass, (LB Southwark Director of Communities) told residents of his plan to return the Jack Hobbs Club, to community use.

Stephen told us that one of his team, Chloe Newman was to be appointed as the hall manager and that Chloe would be working with the TRA’s to promote youth engagement and bring the Jack Hobbs Club back into use.

It all sounded so good!

Delays in starting renovations

Chloe Newman began as hall manager in April 2019, and met with the committee members of the TRA’s, and outlined her ideas to get the space functional, and back into community use.

During the period from April to October 2019, the hall was largely unused.

During this time a draft LB Southwark document seemed to suggest the councils’ intentions to demolish the hall and the Brandon library, to make way for in-fill housing on the estate.

Chloe had promised a residents consultation on the use of the community hall, but this never got beyond a first draft, and no residents consultation has been done to date.

The TRA’s engaged extensively with local counsellors, Eleanor Kerslake, James Coldwell, and Alice McDonald to try and get the renovation process moving.

Another murder and creation of a steering group

Sadly renovation works did not begin until after the murder of yet another youth, Clinton Evbota, in October 2019.

Following this murder, and an emotional public meeting in the Rachel Leigh hall, Cllr Evelyn Akoto promised to chair monthly meetings with the three Brandon TRA groups, and coordinate the various different council departments to address multiple failings on the Brandon, delays in installing CCTV, tree cutting, the long outstanding renovations to the Jack Hobbs Club, and other issues relating to antisocial behaviour, and ongoing parking violations.

Stephen Gaskell (Head of Chief Executive Office, LB Southwark) took charge as overall Director of the Brandon, and started coordinating the various issues, and created a weekly issues log, shared with all three TRA’s.

Some positive progress started to take place.

However, Brandon TRA expressed disappointment about the lack of consultation or involvement or input into the refit of the Jack Hobbs Club.

The CASP furniture (designed for primary school children) remained, and no new design was considered.

End of works programme & more flooding

LB Southwark declared a successful works programme completed, despite extensive ongoing water damage to downstairs rooms and foyer.

These leaks, despite being pointed out to Chloe in four separate emails over January & February were declared “a separate issue” and would be “dealt with”.

In March 2020, Chloe Newman decided to close the centre and cancel any activities due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The hall was mothballed, despite ongoing defective plumbing.

In April 2020, there was another flooding issue, not surprising as nothing had been done from the end of the works programme.

When will this all end?

Our TRA has been homeless since October 2019, there is no competent management of this repairs project, and the Brandon is worse off than it was two years ago.

We are appealing to our local counsellors, Eleanor Kerslake, James Coldwell, and Alice McDonald to address this fiasco and get the renovation process completed.

Timeline

October 2018

LB Southwark announces the plan to return the Jack Hobbs Club, to community use.

April 2019

Chloe Newman commences as hall manager.

October 2019

Another murder and finally a 10-week work programme begins, concentrating on leaks in the roof of the hall, and issues of leaking district heating pipework.

Sadly the Brandon TRA was not consulted or given any input into the internal design of the hall space.

December 2019

The works programme is extended to the end of February 2020.

February 2020

Works programme ended, but ongoing regular flooding into TRA room, and GF foyer.

March 2020

COVID lockdown. Hall mothballed.

April 2020

Further leaks and water damage.

Some of gym floor ripped up to find leak.

Hall and toilets were still unusable.

Not completed, mothballed again.

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2 comments

  1. Take a look at the video at the bottom of this article from Southwark News

  2. Take a look at the video at the bottom of this article from Southwark News:

    https://www.southwarknews.co.uk/news/brandon-estate-jack-hobbs-club-unusable-after-180k-refurb/

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