Dollis Hill House
The campaign to save Dollis Hill House has taken a massive blow with Boris Johnson announcing he will not be pledging any money to its proposed regeneration.
The Mayor of London has been contemplating whether to honour Ken Livingstone's promise to part-fund the restoration of the 200-year-old Grade II listed building, since he came to power.
But this week the straight-talking politician decided that in the current economic crisis, there were bigger priorities in London.
Mr Johnson said: "I have carefully considered the case for using taxpayers money towards the restoration of Dollis Hill House.
"However, in these harsh economic times and with many so many other priorities chasing limited resources, the money would be more effectively spent on initiatives that improve the lives of Londoners."
Brent Council had earmarked the iconic building, in Gladstone Park, for demolition, but the plans were temporarily shelved when members of the Dollis Hill House Trust (DHHT) mounted a rescue package late last year.
They enlisted the support of charity Training For Life and drew-up a redevelopment plan to turn the derelict building into a cafe and restaurant that trained jobless young people.
A 1.2m grant form the National Lottery was agreed and former Mayor Ken Livingstone promised to pump half of the £4m cost into the restoration project.
Brent Council was due to make a decision about the proposals next year, but this week's news means the plans have been blown out the water.
"We are very disappointed and the announcement is two steps back for us," said Martin Redston, from DHHT.
"We will now have to look for other funding arrangements to meet the short fall so the project can move forward."
Mr Johnson said he would prefer taxpayers money was spent on projects that support jobs, deliver affordable housing and help lift people out of poverty.
His spokesman added: "Boris agrees that it is important to protect the capital's heritage and fully supports the Trust's vision and will work with them and other stakeholders in any way he can towards achieving their goal. "
For the full story see next week's Observer.