Plans announced to convert Beckton community centre into houses
PUBLISHED: 14:00 14 April 2015 | UPDATED: 14:04 14 April 2015
A meeting to discuss the future of a popular community centre descended into chaos as calls were made to remove the leader of a campaign trying to save the premises.
More than 50 residents met with representatives from housing association East Thames Group on Thursday evening to discuss plans to knock down and convert half of Winsor Park Community Centre in Warwall, Beckton, into seven affordable homes.
The group owns two buildings, comprising a former youth centre and the estate’s current community centre, with plans singling out the demolition of the former for redevelopment pending planning permission.
A spokeswoman for East Thames Group revealed to residents at the meeting that it would refurbish the existing community centre and reduce service charge rates by 50 per cent to take into account that the building of the former youth centre is no longer open.
The announcement was met with division as some residents supported the proposal while many others continued to support the reopening of the centre.
Among them was Syed Ahmed, who started a petition in January to reopen the youth centre, which has been closed for more than two years.
So, far his petition has gathered more than 200 signatures.
He was met with calls to be removed from the public meeting by a group of residents who claimed he did not live on the estate.
Mr Ahmed, who lives in Beckton, told the Recorder he was “sad to see” the reaction from some residents and claimed he was acting for the community despite not living on the estate.
He said of the plans: “We won’t let this happen. We will fight to the end.”
In a statement, East Thames said it “continued to listen to the concerns of Mr Ahmed and his supporters” as part of the meeting.
The group added: “We are confident that we can offer the type of services that they would like to see from the improved community centre.
“Moving forward we will continue to consult with the whole community to ensure that we are meeting their needs, and will continue to provide services including employment and training advice, a nursery and flexible space for local groups to hire.”