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First of Tower Hamlets’ low rent ‘community hubs’ opens in Whitechapel

PUBLISHED: 16:09 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:16 19 September 2017

Mayor John Biggs [far right] cuts ribbon to open Tower Hamlets' first 'community hub' at Whitechapel. Picture: Alima Khatoun

Mayor John Biggs [far right] cuts ribbon to open Tower Hamlets' first 'community hub' at Whitechapel. Picture: Alima Khatoun

Alima Khatoun/LBTH

The first “community hub” in London’s East End has been opened in Whitechapel by Tower Hamlets Council offering voluntary groups low-cost space.

The mayor cut the ribbon at the new hub in Christian Street, off the Commercial Road, with its large multi-purpose spaces for 80 people, meeting room, kitchen, storage, free wi-fi and multimedia equipment.

Others are planned in Wapping, Bromley-by-Bow, Limehouse and two in Bethnal Green.

A survey started in November found 74 council-owned buildings were only being used for a third of the available hours in any week.

Some were in a poor condition, others had no formal basis of occupation and there were inconsistent charges from one building to another. There was a hotch-botch of agreements and terms of occupation, some groups paying rent while others were paying nothing.

So the council has decided to turn them into a network of “community hubs” over the next two years to allocate space to the East End’s 2,000 voluntary, neighbourhood and charity organisations at low rates, just enough to meet upkeep of the buildings.

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