It’s great to share good news in these difficult times and The Fellowship Inn project in Bellingham is good news and it shows how to get things done. See this new video on youtube:
The Fellowship Inn is an historic pub, a landmark building and a key community asset that had been neglected and faced being sold off and demolished for commuter flats. The fact is that Phoenix Community Housing saved it and has created a real-life success story out of what could have been an all-too-common tale of the sale of a community asset.
Phoenix is a co-operative and tenant-led housing association with local people in control. I was proud to be part of their team as a board member and local Councillor to help negotiate the sale of The Fellowship Inn from Lewisham Council to Phoenix. This historic building was in a state of disrepair and it was widely expected that it would be sold to the highest bidder at a relative low price to be demolished. A block of flats by a London railway station is a licence to print money!
The negotiations were tortuous but we got there and the building was finally transferred to Phoenix Community Housing for a price well above the valuation.
Due to fears of a major loss of a significant building, Historic England decided to list The Fellowship and it was then that Bellingham literally won the lottery as, following a lottery funding bid by Phoenix, the Heritage Lottery Foundation insisted that we needed more money. The result included a local history project and a record of the work of which this video is part.
‘Regeneration’ can be imposed on people on an area or it can come up from the grass roots and be a joint effort and I will always support the joint effort approach. The exciting bit is that the best is yet to come. The renovated historic pub, theatre, cinema and community space – with a micro-brewery thrown in – is going to bring many local people together and will provide a thriving centre that will become, I have no doubt, the beating heart of the community.
For more information see: https://www.phoenixch.org.uk/community/fellowship-inn
Councillor Alan Hall