A CHARITY has been left devastated after the council's 'heavy-handed' approach which has cost them a near half a million pound grant and a building to call home.
Impact Theatre company for people with learning disabilities was based at Hanwell Community Centre but due to refurbishment works, they moved to the Stirling Road Day Centre in South Acton in March 2009.
And after securing £422,000 from the Social Enterprise Investment Fund if they could gain a 15 year lease for the site, the council voted on Tuesday evening against extending their contract.
Amanda Braggins, one of the company directors, said: "The council had already made their decision and didn't listen to us. We're devastated as it's been confirmed we're no longer getting the grant which was a once in a life-time opportunity and would have covered the repair costs of Stirling Road Day Centre.
"Our lease expires in March 2011 and now we'll be looking for another viable building while this one is sold off by the council for around a million pounds. Impact is a great thing for the community and everyone's worried about the future."
Frederick Avella, a carer for his son, Henry, who has learning disabilities and who has attended Impact for six years said: "We feel the decision process was without any consultation with carers or service users.
"There is no other suitable alternative for people with disabilities and they have ignored the fact that this is a day centre, as well as a theatre production company. It seems the council is hell-bent on selling the building and although we have no emotional attachment to it, it's all we have and now it's collapsed."
Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of the Council, said:"Impact do a fantastic job which is why this is the hardest decision we have had to make since coming to power.
"We're working with the group to help them find another venue and have offered the chance to meet the architects working on the Greenford Hall refurbishment to see if their needs can be worked into our plans.
"It was always our intention to sell the Stirling Road site and we only offered this venue for a two year lease. The sad reality is that at the same meeting we heard how we will need thousands of extra high school places and hundreds of primary school places over the next few years and with the Building Schools for the Future funding snatched away from us we are left with the very real dilemma of how we will find the multi millions needed to pay for this."
For more information on Impact, visit www.impactondisabilityarts.com