A NEW Paddocks community centre presents a chance to create a “50-year legacy” and a state-of-the-art facility, a leading Tory has claimed amidst strong criticism of the project.

Last week, the Echo reported claims from the Canvey Independent Party that the project should go back to square one after it was found that consultation feedback was flawed.

But councillor Chas Mumford, who was part of the working party which carried out the consultation, insisted it is time to focus on the future, rather than focussing on the wealth of emotions surrounding the current site.

And the councillor insisted current feedback means the size of the hall will remain the same, with additional smaller rooms, even if the overall footprint of the building is smaller.

He said: “I certainly do agree that this is an opportunity to create a legacy, to provide a facility that will be state-of-the-art and up to scratch for the next 50 years.

“There has been a lot of discussion, and a lot of confusion around the plan, but on a basic level we need to decide now what we want from the new hall and how we want it to look, then we can get the professionals on board to give accurate costings and then we can look at funding.

“From the consultation, it has been made clear that the hall must stay the same size, the stage must remain, and there would be the option of having two additional smaller rooms.

“The overall footprint of the building may be smaller, but we are looking at making the most of the space and having nothing wasted.

“We have been talking to users, we have been talking to the public, and we want to work with the other parties, we need a partnership dedicated to getting the best results.

“I am not saying what has gone on before has been ideal but we want to find the best result for the community.”

At the next full council meeting, feedback from the consultation will be given, following last week’s scrutiny meeting.

Following the scrutiny meeting, the Canvey Independent Party insisted the project should go back to square one, and the public should be asked if they want a new community centre or the current site to be redeveloped.