The Independent London Newspaper
24th May 2017

Squatters move into leisure centre left empty for two years and vow to turn it into a place for the community

    Inside the disused Mornington Leisure Centre in Camden Town (Pic: Antonio Cascio)

    Published: 6 February, 2014

    A GROUP of squatters have moved into a leisure centre left empty for two years after Camden Council sold it off. 

    The Mornington Sports Centre in Arlington Road, Camden Town, is set to be turned into new private homes, but developers have been slowed down by wrangling over planning permission.

    Squatters who call themselves the North London Squatting Collective say they will turn it into a place for plays and workshops until the new owners are ready to start building work.

    Members of the same group were recently involved in the occupation of the Friern Barnet Library and The Bohemia Community Centre in Barnet.

    One of the collective, a woman named Julia, told the New Journal: "This will be the building's swansong in the coming months building work will commence. We hope that we can work alongside the community and give this iconic Camden building the send-off it deserves."

    The group has written to new owners, A2Dominion, explaining what they want to do with the leisure centre. Its letter said: "A2Dominion seem like a socially responsible company who will jump at the opportunity to do something useful for the community, we look forward to meeting with them in then coming weeks."

    An open meeting about the building is due to take place on Tuesday with the squatters hoping people living nearby will get involved with their plans.




    Not amused neighbour

    As a neighbour of one of the buildings alongside the Mornington Leisure Centre this has been a total disaster.

    These squatters have so far done _nothing_ for the community, there has been zero action of information and zero activities to follow.

    On the other hand they haven't lost their time in getting parties up to 6am at night every weekend, trash our parking entrance and be confrontational and aggressive with the neighbours.

    I am all for more community activities and more public spaces, but I would just like the truth to be known about this one, there's nothing community enriching about it :(


    Latecomer here, but I'm delighted to read of this through 'official channels'. They have all ym support

    Good old Camden council spent

    Good old Camden council spent thousands doing up the gym to then decided to close it down, was one of the better gyms now the swiss cottage and kentish town gyms are overcrowded coping with members from here.

    More social space is a great thing

    I live in Mornington Crescent and am involved in a theatre group.

    We need more affordable social space available to the local community. I am sick of meeting in pubs!

    I hope the occupiers will publicise the organising meeting here so we can attend.

    Smashing idea!

    ...And having it occupied by socially conscious people who give a hoot about the place will help avert vandalism of these windows, no?

    community centres needed in camden and London

    with the closure of so many youth and community centres in london in recent years,hopefully the owners will support this initiative for temporary use,that will be welcomed by many in the community.
    As a resident of Camden for over 30 years i feel the council and the owners have a responsibility to see spaces used for community in the interim before their longer term use is decided.I hope sense can be seen and a negotiated arrangement can be agreed.

    Great stuff

    Really great to see the space back in use ... keep it up!


    This is very good!

    Meeting time and contact details

    Hi All,

    For those who are interested the meeting will be @ 19:30 Tuesday 11th

    For those who cannot attend and would still like to be involved drop us an e-mail @

    Leisure centre

    These people were treated abysmally by bailiffs at the Bohemia. People in Camden have an opportunity to support and work alongside these pro-active, community oriented people and we must do so - against the tide of Con-Dem theivery that is destroying our communities. Let's visit and see how we can lend a hand to the folks building and nurturing local life!


    As a long time resident of the area I would love to see this building in use again, albeit temporarily. One never does know how long these planning wranglings will end- until then we have this gaping hole in our community. Good luck to this group they seem very positive and proactive.

    Arlington Sports centre OCCUPY'd

    What time is the meeting tomorrow?

    Leisure centre

    Yay for the 'occupiers'.. proactive.

    By the way> is this a listed building? I seem to remember that the glass in the large windows is original and rare.

    Post new comment

    By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.