“Take Action Support Heatham House” is a campaign conceived and managed by Friends of Heatham House with active involvement from a broad range of the local community who demanded we took action to support this important facility and attempt to safeguard its’ future as one of the most highly regarded youth centres in the UK.
The campaign is our response to the Twickenham Town Centre Action Plan which included two options that involved selling off Heatham House for development and offering an alternativeprovision somewhere within the Sorting Office site development.
Our initial success was somewhat dampened when the council, despite the results of public consultations and our successful petition, launched yet more consultations in an attempt to get the answer they wanted the first time round. It is becoming quite clear that councils agenda is to sell Heatham House, not to provide the best facility for young people or best value for money to the community.
Things have now moved on, the POSSIBLE alternative has been shown to the public, along with several disclaimers over what it will actually be. Towards the end of this page is an overview of Heatham House and the current situation with links to further information.
What’s happened so far:
- Petition to retain Heatham House, nearly 2,000 signatures from local residents, more info> HERE
- FoHH presented at full council meeting – more info> HERE
- Young peoples consultation held at Richmond college resulted in majority wishing to retain Heatham House
- Twickenham AAP consultation resulted in majority wishing to retain Heatham House
- Several articles have appeared in the local press, including a recent Front Page on the RTT, more info> HERE
- FoHH met Lord True to suggest a community model, we received no official response until this press release appeared> HERE
What can you do to help?
Time is flying past and the current round of consultations are set to end very soon.
- Write to the local press to let them know your opinion, more info> HERE
- Sign up to our website to show your support > HERE
- Get involved in the current Town Centre consultation> HERE
- Take part (or get your children to take part) in the youth consultation> HERE
- Get your face in the “Heatham House is not for sale” video, more info> HERE
- Write to your local MP and local councillors and show your support of Heatham House
- Follow us on Twitter or “like” our page on Facebook
A brief overview of Heatham House and the current situation:
What is Heatham House?
Heatham House is one of the biggest and busiest Youth Centres in London. For over 60 years generations of local Young People have enjoyed the House and Grounds. Facilities include football, basketball, music, drama, dance and skateboarding. Perhaps most importantly Heatham House is a place where all Young People are truly welcome, a place that is safe but exciting, that provides support when needed and a chance to make friends and have fun.
Why is it under threat?
The Twickenham Area Action Plan included options to sell Heatham House for a hotel or residential development. There are proposals to build a new youth facility as part of the redevelopment of the post office site next door. After a negative result for relocation was achieved in the original consultations, a misleading and factually incorrect consultation for young people was been launched in January 2012. It shows two options for a new centre, on paper the plans look great (don’t they always), however there are several get out clauses to ensure the developer doesn’t have to provide what is being touted around, they could get out of providing it altogether. What could this mean? No youth centre at all in Twickenham. The council safeguard themselves against another “no” vote by including the disclaimer that they own Heatham House and can sell it if they want to!
You can see these documents HERE (opens in new window).
Pay attention to the FAQ document, the disclaimers and the general poor description of Heatham House, then also consider that Heatham House has over 1,000 SqM of indoor floor space, somewhat higher than is claimed in the documents.
At the same time, an all encompassing (for Twickenham Town Centre) but rather confusing document for adults is circulating. We’ve received several comments from local residents claiming the structure seems designed to deter people from filling it out, it is hard to navigate, not as straight forward as it should be and daunting in size. More information is available HERE (opens in new window)
What would we like to see happen?
We believe that Heatham House is an excellent Youth Centre and would like to see it doing even more. We think this can happen with support from the local community, showing the council how much Heatham House is valued and being prepared to get involved in consultation, fundraising and decision making. We would like Council Officers to engage with the community about the future of Heatham House, in turn we will help make sure that Heatham House Youth Centre continues for future generations.