Councillors have defended the £1.6million price tag to refurbish a much-loved community centre after residents feared it had been “inflated”.

About 150 Canvey residents crammed into the Paddocks, in Long Road, Canvey, on Monday evening to debate the future of the community facility.

Residents demanded justification for the £1.6 million refurbishment costs, after concerns that the figure had been increased to justify pulling it down and building houses and a new hall.

Colin Riley, leader of Castle Point Council, responded to the concerns and said: “The £1.6million quoted follows an extensive condition survey of the Paddocks and relates to not only replacing roof structure and felting but also to replacing defective flooring.

“This expenditure includes modernising the toilets and kitchen and refurbishing the building including complete decoration.

“There is an annual cost of £50,000 to keep the building in a modern condition which will extend the existing building’s usable life by up to 10 years.

“A new hall would cost in excess of £3.5million to build but would provide a modern hall fit for all users.


“As part of the Paddocks plan, we have to accommodate the NHS, who need to bring the X-ray and blood unit into their GP unit which means the sale of the old council offices would help to fund these improvements.”

Castle Point Council has so far spent £15,000 reviewing The Paddocks, which has fallen into a state of disrepair.

The councillors raised the idea to demolish the building and rebuild a centre, following concerns that their previous attempt to patch it up was just a “sticking plaster”.

Councillor Norman Smith, cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, said: “The real issue is, do we keep patching this up or we replace it?

“As a cabinet we asked to have that study done to find out what we can do. The question is will we keep a hall here? The answer is yes.At the moment we are in the process of looking at what can be done on this site. No decisions have been made. “