CANVEY’S new Paddocks community centre is set to be self-sufficient with a licensed bar and cafe pitched as money spinning options.

Details of the public consultation into the future of the heavily debated community centre have been published by Castle Point Council ahead of a full cabinet meeting next week.

And meeting papers revealed that councillors have been recommended to confirm that both the splash park and war memorial on the Paddocks complex will remain in place, while the new facility will be able to cater for functions with 500 seated guests.

Plans pitched at the end of last year confirmed that the ideal option for Castle Point Council was to build a new Paddocks, neighbouring the current site, before demolishing the old centre once the new site is open.

The public consultation, launched in December and finishing last month, garnered more than 600 responses, with 540 of them coming from Canvey residents.

Responses gave support for a licensed bar and cafe, as well as good quality toilet facilities, while the majority of responses preferred a large hall, capable of sitting 500.

A number of responses hinted at a refurbishment, but the council has stated this is not possible, due to the length of time the centre would close.

The cost of building the new Paddocks is estimated at £4.3million but the council has revealed it is facing an unbalanced budget in 2020/21 and needs the centre to support itself.

The report from council officers states: “In order to safeguard any new facility at the Paddocks from threat of discontinuation at a later date, it is desirable that the facility is self-sufficient. It would be illogical for the council to take a decision now to provide a new facility which would result in an increased financial burden in years to come.

“The concept of self-sufficiency for discretionary services such as the provision of community halls, is in line with the council’s commercial principles.

“The refreshed business case which will be considered at a future meeting of cabinet will need to demonstrate that the new facility can be operated at no additional cost to the council and ideally on a cost neutral basis. There is no budget for this work so it will be necessary to draw down from reserves once the cost is known.”