Battersea MP describes ‘cruel irony’ of drug centre due to open below flat of murdered father-of-two
Battersea MP Marsha de Cordova has criticised Wandsworth council for planning to open a drug rehabilitation centre below the flat of Ian Tomlin who was beaten to death outside his home in October.
Mr Tomlin, 46, died from blunt force trauma on October 17. Two men have since been charged with his murder.
According to his father, Cecil Tomlin, the victim frequently confronted drug dealers on the Doddington Estate, which residents say has a serious problem with drug users and dealers.
Ms de Cordova said: “Residents are concerned that the drug centre will exacerbate problems on the estate, especially around drugs and violent crime.
She added: “The centre is due to open in the heart of the estate, opposite a nursery, and, with cruel irony, below Mr Tomlin’s flat.”
A community meeting with more than 150 residents was called on Doddington estate on 24 October to give residents the chance to voice their concerns to the Metropolitan Police and Wandsworth Council, but the drug rehabilitation centre is still set to go ahead.
Ms de Cordova said: “Shockingly, Wandsworth Council failed to send appropriate representatives to the meeting. Instead of the leader of the council – Councillor Ravi Govindia – or the Council’s chief executive attending, council officers responsible for housing were sent. As the council would have known in advance, they were unable to answer questions about the drug centre.”
The MP said that the centre is set to go ahead against the community’s wishes and without them having been adequately consulted.
She said: “They are rightly angry at the lack of power and control they have been given over their own community space.”
A Wandsworth council spokesman said: “We have just received a letter from Ms de Cordova in which she raises these issues and are in the process of arranging an early meeting with her where we can discuss her concerns in greater detail.
“The plans for the rehabilitation centre were announced some time ago and were subject to widespread consultation as part of the decision-making process.”
However, residents feel that consultation was inadequate. Student Niamh Gallagher, 20, who lives on Doddington estate, said that there has been a drug problem for many years.
She said that Mr Tomlin’s death has had a profound impact on their community, and that many residents feel the drug centre is offensive to the memory of the dad-of-two, who had a reputation for not tolerating drug activity on the estate.
She said: “It’s really quite disrespectful that it’s his actual building, his kids are going be living there.
“A lot of people who are drug dealing and using are sort of thrown onto our estate anyway, so it’s like now these people are going to be here in and out all the time.”
Miss Gallagher described the planned opening of the drug centre as shocking and disheartening for the estate which has been working so hard to build community.
She added: “If you bring people that are vulnerable to that sort of thing to the estate where it’s all happening it’s not a good idea.”
Feature image shows Ian Tomlin.
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