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Bingo battlers turn to listed status to save Hornchurch Mecca Bingo

PUBLISHED: 16:06 10 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:06 10 September 2015

The 1930s Mecca Bingo in Hornchurch could be sold to property developers

The 1930s Mecca Bingo in Hornchurch could be sold to property developers

Archant

A campaign to save an art deco bingo hall from being demolished has gathered more than 200 supporters.

Hayley Johnson, 37, who lives across the street from Mecca Bingo, High Street, Hornchurch, has made a formal request to Historic England calling for the building to be listed.

Mrs Johnson set up a Facebook page – which has more than 200 likes – to mobilise residents after the hall’s owners announced property developers had made “a very good offer” to buy the site in July.

She said: “I love the building and my main aim is to save it. If it can stay as the Mecca Bingo it would be fantastic, but I am a realist and I feel they will sell the land.

“If the building is protected they won’t be able to knock it down and they will have to keep at least the towers.”

A petition, launched by Tony Bailey, 46, and Lucy Saunders, 30, has also gathered 69 signatures.

Gaming company the Rank Group, which owns the Mecca Bingo chain, told the Recorder in July the offer was more valuable than any profit the bingo hall could make in the next 12 years.

Historic England confirmed the fast-track application was being assessed but said it was not aware of any threats to the building.

The final decision whether to list the bingo hall – which opened in 1935 as the Towers Cinema and was converted into a bingo hall in 1973 – will be made by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale.

Mrs Johnson has also applied to Havering Council for a building preservation notice to be issued on the hall, giving it the same protection as a listed building and stopping demolition for six months.

The council said it will make a decision as soon as possible.

A Mecca Bingo spokesman said the chain was still in negotiations with the company looking to purchase the site and no decisions had yet been made.

One employee, who did not want to be named, admitted it was a “difficult time” for staff, with the building’s future remaining unclear.

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