Further delays at Hornchuch’s Mecca Bingo as Lidl challenges demolition conditions

Mecca Bingo, High Street, Hornchurch

Mecca Bingo, High Street, Hornchurch - Credit: Archant

The demolition of Hornchurch’s historic Mecca Bingo hall is facing further delays as new plans have been submitted to the council.

A supermarket giant appears to be trying to get out of its responsibility to clean the road during the demolition of the former bingo hall and historic cinema.

The saga over the fate of the former Mecca Bingo hall in High Street, Hornchurch – also known as the Towers Cinema – has seen a latest development, which could explain the delay for discount chain Lidl to demolish the building after planning permission was granted in August.

Lidl has submitted a planning application asking to withdraw one of the conditions the council’s regulatory services committee imposed, when it agreed for the 1930s art deco cinema to be torn down and replaced with a supermarket.

In its last decision, the council’s committee asked the chain to ensure cleansing facilities were put in place to rid the road from any mud or debris that would be deposited during the building’s demolition.

“If mud or other debris originating from the site is deposited in the public highway, all on-site operations shall cease until it has been removed,” the condition states.

A traffic management plan was to be presented to the council prior to the start of the demolition work, highlighting where lorries would be accessing and exiting the site and with guarantees they will be checked and cleaned before driving off.

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This is not a common planning practice.

Cllr Graham Williamson, who sits on the regulator services committee, said he had never seen an applicant challenging planning conditions for a demolition.

He described the conditions as “standards” and “a matter of curtesy”.

“It would be inappropriate for a demolition of this size to have that type of condition dropped – particularly because lorries could be taking dust and dirt onto the high street and that would be totally unacceptable,” he said.

A decision on this new planning application is expected before November 10.

Lidl has been contacted for comment but had not yet provided a response at time of publication.