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Elm Park community protest outside Havering Town Hall against 'terrible' decision to demolish Carrie's Hall

PUBLISHED: 09:58 17 December 2018

Residents protest against planning application to demolish Carrie's Hall in Elm Park. Photo: Barry Mugglestone

Residents protest against planning application to demolish Carrie's Hall in Elm Park. Photo: Barry Mugglestone

Archant

Neighbours stood together in the cold last night in protest against a planning application to demolish a beloved community hall.

Protestors gathered outside Havering Town Hall as a Cabinet meeting was due to take place, with signs in hand, pledging to once again fight an application which had been submitted to knock down Carrie’s Hall, Maybank Avenue, Elm Park, and build four two three-bedroom houses and two four-bedroom houses homes in its place.

Speaking to the Recorder, Elm Park resident Victoria Johnston-Messori said: “We don’t want to lose the hall for good, it means a lot to people in the community and we don’t want to see it destroyed.

“What we’re worried about as well is that we don’t want this to be the start of more developments in the area.

“We stopped the last application from going through and we will try our hardest to fight against this one as well.”

John Smith, who has lived in the area for 60 years, said: “It’s terrible.

“If it does go ahead and the houses are built it’ll be chaos.

There’s already so many cars, especially during the mornings with the school so close by so more houses mean more cars and more problems.

“They’re [the proposed homes] are not going to fit in with the character of the rest of the area so will become an eyesore.”

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 now once again faces 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 last year.

Around 2,000 residents have signed a petition for the application to be refused.

Jackie Walsh, who organised the protest, said: “I’m really pleased with the turn out.

“It’s very cold tonight and for so many people to come along just shows how important this is to everyone.”

Councillor Barry Mugglestone said: “The current administration insists that they want to keep Havering special and they can help to do that by rejecting this application.

“That hall was very well used by the community before they were forced to leave so should not be knocked down because of this.

“The area doesn’t need anymore houses, it needs more places like Carrie’s Hall, not fewer.”

To sign the petition, visit this website.

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