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Battle to save Finsbury Health Centre could go to health secretary

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Islington Council’s political parties are set to appeal to the Ministry of Health if the primary care trust (PCT) refuses to save Finsbury Health Centre

Plans to keep open the Grade I-listed, Berthold Lubetkin-designed health centre already have the support of a Labour member of the House of Lords, Chris Smith.

According to the peer, Lubetkin designed his buildings based on the fundamental principle ‘that in public buildings nothing should be too good for ordinary people’. He wrote in the Guardian: ‘I wish we did so more frequently nowadays.’

NHS Islington (PCT), who wants to sell the structure, is set to consider Islington Council’s appeal to retain the building for local healthcare uses on 27 May.

Barb Jacobson of campaign group Save Finsbury Health Centre said: ‘ If the PCT doesn’t agree with the council’s recommendation to keep it open the leaders of all parties have said they support a referral to the ministry of health.’

Completed in 1938, the iconic structure now requires a £9.1 million refurbishment.

Local campaigners, supported by English Heritage and the architect’s daughter Sasha Lubetkin, are adamant the building is kept for its original purpose.

In response Paula Kahn, the NHS Islington Chair, said: NHS Islington is committed to reaching local resolution on the future use of Finsbury Health Centre, and we hope our meeting with the Scrutiny Committee to discuss their report and recommendations will take us one step closer to achieving this.’

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