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Rainham Social Club could be demolished for flats

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 January 2016

The old Rainham Social Club. Picture: Google Maps

The old Rainham Social Club. Picture: Google Maps

Archant

A disused social club could be demolished and made into flats after the land owner admitted defeat in his dream to turn it into a hotel.

The old Rainham Social Club building in Upminster Road South closed down in February 2013 and is currently being rented out as a storage unit for an online clothes company.

Shiraz Anwar, of Farm Road, Rainham, has owned the building for three years and has twice failed in bids to turn it into a bed and breakfast.

He has now abandoned that plan, saying he has been left with no choice but to apply for planning permission to demolish the building and turn it into six one-bed flats and a shop unit.

“I’ve been paying full rent for three years, what can I do?” he told the Recorder. “I couldn’t get the hotel, I have no other choice.”

Mr Anwar says he will let the shop space.

“It could be a hairdressers or a shop – whatever I can get,” he said. “To be honest, three years is a long time, I have given up.”

The club was raided by police in August after residents had long suspected it was housing illegal immigrants.

None were found nothing and Mr Anwar hit back, slamming “conspiracy theories” and admitting the constant rumours and “bullying” made him consider selling up.

The plans also include a car park for the new residents.

Rainham and Wennington’s Cllr David Durant, of the Independent Residents’ Group, said the application was promising for the area.

“I’m glad there will be a retail unit because it’s in a shopping area,” he said.

“As long as the flats are properly designed and not an eye sore it will be good for Rainham, it’s a big bit of land.”

The club opened in the 1900s but in later years fell on hard times.

After membership fell from 800 to 400 and the owners couldn’t afford to keep it open, it closed despite valiant efforts from the regulars to keep it open.

Havering Council officers will make a decision on the plans by February 17.

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