Fears for popular East Ham community centre’s future

Members want to save Hartley Centre from closure

Members want to save Hartley Centre from closure - Credit: Archant

Residents have raised concerns as the future of a popular community centre hangs in the balance.

Community development organisation, the Renewal Programme, has decided to end its lease agreement on The Hartley Centre, Barking Road, East Ham, after eight years, and has provided the council with a three-month notice period.

A spokesman for Newham Council said that no decision on the future use of the building has been made as a survey needs to be carried out but users are worried it may close.

Bob Betton, who runs his zumba class there on Wednesday evenings, said: “We received a letter from the council telling us what the situation was.

“But it wasn’t very clear and that was the problem. We are worried because we have no idea what the future holds for the building.

“It is a very well-used and popular building for residents in East Ham and we must ensure that it remains open for the community.

“For now, I need to look elsewhere to hold my classes.”

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The building will be handed back to the council in October.

However, the council has confirmed that regular bookings have ended this month and no bookings will be taken in September to allow the Renewal Programme time to remove its property from the building.

A joint statement from the council and the Renewal Programme reads: “Newham Council is working closely with the Renewal Programme to support the needs of those groups. We have written to them to inform them of the next steps in the process.

“We will be carrying out a survey to determine the condition of the building.

“No decision will be taken on the future of the centre until the results of the survey have been assessed.”

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