After years of working with architects, conservationists and medical staff to come up with plans to refurbish Berthold Lubetkin’s ground-breaking Finsbury Health Centre, Islington Primary Care Trust pulled the plug on all this expense and effort in the spring of this year, just as all parties were nearing agreement. They are now proposing to sell the building, move the specialist services as far as three miles away and build a new GP surgery on adjoining land. Although this proposal is supposed to be out to consultation, the PCT is not asking if people want to keep services at the Finsbury Health Centre.
Our petition has now collected nearly 1800 signatures, mainly on a paper version which has been circulating locally. There is also an online version. We have had strong support also from Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury who used to be the local MP, and the current MP Emily Thornberry has also come out in support of saving the Finsbury Health Centre.
English Heritage and all the other architectural experts we have spoken to are mystified by the PCT’s claimed £4-5 million pricetag for the refurbishment and updating of the FHC, and so far the PCT have refused to say exactly upon what they are basing this figure. The FHC had a new roof and some structural work done in the 1990s by John Allan at Avanti architects who was a friend of Lubetkin’s.
The PCT has made much of the building’s grade 1 listed status as a barrier to updating, yet in fact it was built for flexible use, with movable partition walls. The PCT has not come up with any refurbishment proposals for English Heritage to respond to. Listed building consent for the addition of a lift was given in 1995 and could be renewed.
On this site you will find our petition to Alan Johnson MP, Minister for Health to stop the proposed sale and guarantee money to refurbish and update the Finsbury Health Centre, messages of support, a short history of the centre and links to several articles and letters which have appeared in the local press. We have also included a link to view the Freedom of Information correspondence with Islington PCT.
If you agree that it would be a travesty for this building pass out of public use and the services to be dispersed, please sign our petition and feel free to leave comments there or on this website.