Hainault community centre is taking too long, say committee

Concerns over the amount of time it is taking for plans to be finalised on the new multi-faith community centre were voiced by the area committee last week.

The new centre will replace the Old Working Men’s Club (Jacques Hall) in New North Road, Hainault, once contracts have been signed with the Hainault and Chigwell Muslim Association, Stradbroke Drive, Chigwell.

The council, who were criticised at the area committee three meeting at Redbridge Sports and Leisure Centre, Forest Road, Barkingside by councillors, admitted that “perhaps lessons have been learnt”.

Cllr Nick Hayes said: “I am concerned by the time it has taken to reach this stage. I understand that things can take longer when dealing with a third sector organisation but I still don’t know why it’s taken this long.

“I am most concerned about the regeneration and planning department, and it calls into question how quickly a decision was approached.”

Cllr Harold Moth said: “The council should have put in a fixed time frame as part of the contract.”

Cabinet member for regeneration and property, Cllr Thomas Chan, who attended the meeting, claimed the delay in finalising the details was due to the lengthy negotiation, which was “common practise” when dealing with an organisation of this type.

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He added: “Detailed documentation is set to be completed by the end of the month. Perhaps lessons have been learnt in property services and I definitely agree that we have been waiting far too long.”

Since Hainault working men’s club closed its doors for the final time in 2008, there has been significant opposition against the proposed community centre from residents.

Cllr David Poole said: “I have said all along that I am against the proposals and I was the sole member that voted against the decision.

“I think there are more important alternative uses for the land, such as affordable housing for the large number of elderly people that live in the area.”

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