Upton Centre protesters take fight to town hall

A protest outside the Town Hall in East Ham about the closure of the Upton Centre

A protest outside the Town Hall in East Ham about the closure of the Upton Centre - Credit: Archant

The Upton Centre’s future will be decided following a public consultation, cabinet members ruled last night.

The community centre was shut suddenly in December after engineers ruled the boiler did not comply with regulations, and since then hundreds of users have been campaigning for it to be reopened.

Many were at East Ham Town Hall yesterday with placards and banners, chanting their support for the Claude Road centre.

Independent surveyors had put forward two proposals, one to keep the centre open for five years at a cost of £2.9m and another for 20 years, which could cost up to £5.2m.

However, outlining their case to the cabinet, Upton Centre users said that they believed the figures stated were too high.

Cllr Ken Clark, cabinet member for building communities, planning and regeneration, offered to arrange a meeting between the council’s surveyors and those from the Upton Centre.

Another option, if it was felt that the cost to renovate the centre was too high, would be to close it.

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Sir Robin Wales said that the demolition and rebuilding of a new community centre on the site was a possibility.

He said: “We have an old building, and old buildings are difficult to maintain.

“We all remember the Atherton Leisure Centre that we have knocked down and rebuilt a new leisure centre for what it would cost to maintain the old one.”

The six week consultation will include an online survey on the council’s website as well as focus groups made up of centre users and others living in the area.

The result will be brought before the cabinet in June, when members will make a decision on the future of the Upton Centre.