Continuing the discussion from
I want to give a better answer, and I might if I don’t get arrested this afternoon. Oxford City Council are attempting to take posession of East Oxford Community Centre, possibly at 4PM BST. I don’t intend to let them.
Well, I wasn’t arrested, there were no obvious police there.
A bit of background.
East Oxford Community Association:
The Oxford City Council (OCC) issued a one month Notice to Quit and told the East Oxford Community Association (EOCA) which is the Charity that has exclusive occupation and manages the site, that there was no lease and that they could just walk in on Monday the 21st of July at 4 pm and change the locks.
EOCA’s lawyers wrote to OCC saying that a lease was signed in 1986 and that as such EOCA are protected tenants under the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1954. The EOCA lawyer sought assurances from the OCC that they would not attempt to enter the building and unlawfully take possession in this way on Monday the 21st at 4 pm.
The OCC have recently replied to EOCA’s lawyer in a letter from their legal department in which they now claim that under the 1986 lease, the EOCA can voluntarily relinquish the lease and hand the Community Centre over to the OCC.
The letter from OCC’s legal department then goes on to assert that they have a voluntary agreement from the Trustees of EOCA to relinquish the Community Centre and claiming therefore not to understand why the EOCA’s lawyer is writing to them.
This is completely false. No such agreement exists.
The Chair and Vice Chair of the East Oxford Community Association met with the Oxford City Council officers on Monday the 14th of July. No agreements were made. EOCA simply told the OCC that they were seeking advice about the situation. When asked about the lease the OCC officers flatly denied that a lease existed.
Now the OCC’s layer’s are referring to the 1986 lease (that did not exist according to them 4 days earlier) and a voluntary agreement with the Association to terminate occupation of the Community Centre under the terms of that lease when there is no such voluntary agreement.
The Chair and Vice Chair of EOCA now have signed statements to the effect that they have never agreed to the OCC plan to take over. The Trustees of EOCA have met and signed a statement where they have all agreed to abide by their votes to oppose the council takeover and sought legal advice to prevent this. All the Trustees agreed to continue the fight against take over and demolition.
In my opinion it was a minor victory, the community centre kept the keys but the council are taking the issue to court. We won the battle but still have a long fight ahead of us.
I am still waiting for an official statement from EOCA or OCC. There are no online news stories about it yet, but I know that BBC Oxford and the Oxford Mail were there, The BBC have already shown a local television report, but it’s not on iplayer.