A group have hit out at Haringey Council’s treatment of community centre users.

Chestnuts Community Centre was set to be closed for refurbishment by the council after its management fell into rent arrears, with no date set for its reopening.

But after a meeting with angry residents on November 25, the council changed its mind and said Chestnuts will remain open.

Users of the centre have now formed a group, Chestnuts People, to keep the centre under community control.

Yvonne Field, of Chestnuts People, said: “The council have just come along and said they’ll shut this place without any actual idea of the kind of groups that are here.

“There are volunteers in here, using the centre, who provide all sorts of support to the community. Haringey have absolutely no idea what they’re doing and no idea of who is using the centre."

The council’s lease with Chestnuts Management Committee was terminated in July due to rent arrears of £50,000 and poor maintenance of the building.

Instead of closing the centre, South Tottenham charity the Bridge Renewal Trust has been asked by the council to take over management of the centre on an interim basis of one year.

In a statement, the BRT said it had a “strong track record in developing sustainable social business” including “developing financially sustainable community centres that offer a vibrant mix of activities and opportunities for local people.”

It also stated that any income generated by the centre over and above running costs would be re-invested in the centre.

Rachel Hughes, chairman of the Bridge Renewal Trust, said: “We’re excited about taking over the management of the centre, but we had to think carefully about it. It’s a huge challenge. It’s a community facility and people really care about it.”

But Chestnuts People are unhappy with the arrangement, and say the council plan to take the building from the community and put it out to public tender.

A spokesman for Haringey Council said that BRT are not being paid to manage Chestnuts.

He said: “We recognise the crucial role voluntary groups play across the borough, which is why we’re consulting on proposals to improve Chestnuts Community Centre in a modern arts and culture hub.

“As we’ve made clear, the centre will remain open during any improvement work to minimise the effect on groups whose clubs, activities and meetings are central to our plans.

“The Bridge Renewal Trust is a local charity with a proven track record of running community spaces, and their management of the centre on an interim basis will ensure centre users can continue their usual activities.”