Replace broken

Castle Point Council’s plans to renovate the paddocks in Canvey

ALMOST £900,000 will be set aside to fund the refurbishment of a much-loved community hall in Canvey.

Castle Point Council is set to breathe life back into the Paddocks Community Center with a large-scale renovation program – reversing an earlier decision to bulldoze the building.

The council formed a task force to run the scheme with £883,720 earmarked for the project – funded by the sale of the Chapman Sands Sailing Club land after the 52-year-old club closed in 2019.

The council, which had previously estimated the works would cost closer to £500,000, has already allocated £31,000 for immediate repairs to repair the roof, repair broken windows and fix electrical circuits after the center fell under vandalism.

Councilor Steven Cole, a member of the task force, said, “The Paddocks is the jewel in the crown of the Canvey community.

“We are going to invest a lot of money in this community building, and we will not let it fall into disrepair again.”

He added: ‘The building was abandoned by the previous administration and was to become apartments.

“After 20 years of neglect, we will restore this building in conjunction with community group The Friends of the Paddocks to restore it to its former glory.”

The building, which opened in 1973, has been the heart of the community hosting social groups and events; more recently it has been used by the NHS to administer Covid-19 inoculations.

Little investment has taken place in the building since its construction, with only cosmetic repairs undertaken around 2012 and 2014.

In 2018, the council office declared its intention to demolish the hall’s existing facility and replace it with a new facility, but councilors now believe that renovations are the best solution.

Council leader Dave Blackwell said: “It is extremely important to bring this building back to life.

“This is Canvey’s main community hub and is very popular with all residents here.

“Thousands of people protested previous demolition plans, showing the public’s appetite for the building’s renovation.”