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MP, community groups fight against sale of Harmony Hall

An attempt by the community centre’s owners to change Harmony Hall’s remit could leave it open for purchase by private developers, reports Marco Marcelline

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy has led a call to stop the owners of Harmony Hall from changing its remit in order to sell it on to private developers.

The call to action comes after Marsh Street Mission (MSM), the Christian charity owners of the building, received a preliminary green light from the Charity Commission to lift the covenant on the building that means it must be used for ‘Christian purposes’. The Charity Commission has now asked for feedback from residents before Friday 4th August. 

Harmony Hall was previously subject to a long-drawn out sale attempt by its owners who initially put it up for sale in 2017.

In a post on a local community group, Walthamstow Life, MP Creasy appealed to people to email the Charity Commission by the 4th August deadline to express their opposition to the decision. 

The hall has been used and managed by CREST for many years. CREST provides various support services for people with mental health issues, and a day service for older adults with disabilities or dementia.

Harmony Hall is also a community base for sports classes, exercise classes, religious groups, and theatre groups. Its website says the hall has a weekly footfall of 900 people.

In the Facebook post, MP Creasy said that the Charity Commission’s willingness to agree that the covenant be removed, “risks the building being sold to those who would develop it for private use and losing this vital community space at a time when such buildings are short on the ground.”

A spokesperson for Crest said: “All these services are now under threat because of a provisional decision by the Charity Commission, to allow Marsh Street Mission to sell Crest’s main site, at Harmony Hall, which is also one of the few places in Walthamstow where local community members can hire rooms for social events at realistic prices.”


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Graham Cobb, Operations Manager at Crest added: “Crest however has not been privy to correspondence between the Commission and Marsh Steet, from 2020 until the announcement of the Commission’s provisional or draft approval, in July 2023. This is in spite of the Commission’s obligation to consult if any decisions represent a threat to charities or their beneficiaries. Marsh Street’s ‘justification’ is that the site cannot be used to promote the Christian mission that they are committed to, but Harmony Hall already provides a meeting place for several Christian organisations, such as Sur le Pas, River of Life and Christ Embassy.”

Livability, the sole trustee of MSM, told the Echo that it was seeking to change the covenant of the building because MSM “is no longer carrying out Christian mission therefore it is not fulfilling its purpose”. The Echo asked Livability how MSM is no longer carrying out Christian mission, and Livability said the the Harmony Hall site “is not used primarily and overtly for Christian mission purposes.”

Livability said that it is seeking to use proceeds from the planned sale of Harmony Hall to “further the new purpose of MSM, which is to advance the Christian Faith in Greater London and elsewhere by providing facilities, support, and advice for Christian congregations and other Christian groups to promote social inclusion for the benefit of the people who may be socially excluded including through disability.”

To express your stance on the decision to approve the covenant change please email [email protected] by Friday 4th of August

You can also make representations to: http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Details.aspx?PDFName=029343, please
quote: NJ/C-029323


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