A DERELICT hall could be redeveloped into a sports base under a masterplan unveiled by Castle Point Council.

John H Burrows Hall, in Hadleigh, closed three years ago and asbestos in the building means demolishing it could cost nearly £100,000.

Residents have long campaigned to save the hall, but the council’s cabinet will be asked to consider knocking it down and redeveloping the site.

Another option is to build the multi-use games area on two of four nearby tennis courts.

Tom Skipp, councillor responsible for environment and leisure, will ask councillors to support the masterplan and draw money from the council’s reserves to demolish the hall and contribute towards extending the clubhouse at Hadleigh and Thundersley Cricket Club.

Mr Skipp said: “The hall is in a poor condition. The plan is we demolish it and haveamulti-use games area.

“For the demolition, we’re asking for the main costs to come out of the reserves.

“The demolition of the hall and improving of the facilities at the cricket club are crucial to the whole thing working.

“The hall will remain until the plans have been approved and funding found for the project.”

If given the green light, a sports facility, which could have a basketball court, football ground and other sports areas, would be built on the site of the hall, or two of the four tennis courts would be converted into the new sports space.

A picnic area would also be provided as well as a petanque pitch and new sports pavilion.

The existing playground, bowls green and clubhouse would remain.

Works would be carried out to improve the drainage of the sports pitches and to resurface the car park.

Car park lighting would also be reinstated.

Hadleigh and Thundersley Cricket Club has applied to various organisations for grants for a £250,000 project to extend its pavilion to include new changing rooms and a public toilet.

Alf Papworth, chairman of Hadleigh and Solby Residents’ Association, has long campaigned to save the hall.

He said: “It’s a shame if it goes ahead as it was a memorial to John Burrows.

“I’ve had letters and calls and people saying they want to save the hall.

“If they’ve got the sort of money to do all this, why can’t they refurbish the hall? I really don’t understand it.

“It’s a monument to John Burrows and the new ground should be called John Burrows in his memory.”

Mr Burrows was a former editor of the Southend Standard and ex-Mayor of Southend.