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Community celebrates as planning application to demolish Elm Park's Carrie's Hall is refused

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 January 2019

Angry local residents are petitioning for Carries Hall to remain open.

Angry local residents are petitioning for Carries Hall to remain open.

Archant

A planning application to demolish a beloved community hall has been refused to the delight of residents.

More than 700 people signed a petition against the demolition of Carrie’s Hall, Maybank Aveneue, Elm Park, and the construction of two three-bedroom houses and two four-bedroom houses in its place last year.

But this week, it has been announced that the application has been refused as it would “result in the irrevocable loss of a community facility”, the development would be irregular and cramped”, and would “fail to respect the character and appearance” of the area.

Jackie Walsh, who has been living in the area for almost 40 years, said: “I would just like to thank everyone for their help, support and encouragement.

“To all those people who signed the petitions and supported the cause, I would like to say, thank you so much because together we are stronger.

“My hope is that the hall will soon resume its original role of serving the community.”

The hall and the surrounding land was donated by founder of the Round Table, Louis Marchesi, in 1958 to be used by the community.

In his memory, the land was called the Louis Marchesi Maybank Open Space.

However, the site was sold off to a private owner and once again faced the risk of development, having submitted two previous planning applications.

Carrie’s Hall was home to groups including WeightWatchers, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Phoenix Pre-school, as well as pilates, zumba and yoga classes to name a few, before their contracts were no longer renewed in 2017.

Residents hope that Carrie’s Hall will once again be open for the community to use.

Councillor Barry Mugglestone said: “Let’s get the youth groups, pre-school and all the other users back there.

“This was a good community campaign with residents and ward councillors and special mention must go to Jackie for all her work on the petitions.

“It proves people power for the right reasons gets results.

“The Hornchurch Residents’ Association will always support our residents.”

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