Northampton Mayor slams 'dreadful decision' to evict Hope Centre

Councillor Tony Ansell.
Councillor Tony Ansell.

Northampton’s mayor has joined the queue of dissenting voices criticising the eviction of the Hope Centre.

Councillor Tony Ansell raised the subject at Monday’s full meeting of Northampton Borough Council, saying it would be ‘remiss’ of him not to do so.

The Hope Centre is a homeless charity that Councillor Ansell chose as his Mayoral charity of the year. But it faces being booted out of its Oasis Home headquarters by landlords Midland Heart, who served an eviction notice for next year as they bid to increase the amount of temporary accommodation available at the building.

Councillor Ansell said: “The Hope Centre is a charity that does wonderful work. They were given the devastating news that in effect they will be made homeless themselves.

“I have noted the petition started by one of the patrons and that it has over 8,000 signatures.

“The Hope Centre was set up 43 years ago by Michael Mulligan, who would be spinning in his grave at the dreadful decision that has been made.

“To announce this as the nights become darker is a huge blow to the homeless people who rely on this service.

“I’m a great believer that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. I do hope that common sense prevails and that a satisfactory solution can be found.”

The Conservative Mayor made his comments one day before the eviction made national headlines after being condemned by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The Hope Centre says the decision will have a ‘disastrous impact on poor, homeless and dispossessed people in the town’.

Midland Heart has said that it wants to ‘greatly increase the quality of accommodation available at Oasis House but to offer more support to help people move on with their lives’, and that it had given The Hope Centre notice at the ‘earliest possible opportunity’.