A PLAN to give a company up to £25,000 to carry out a feasibility study into a community hall has been blasted, with critics labelling it a waste of money.

Castle Point Council is offering a contract for an external company to do the study into the Paddocks, on Canvey, offering between £10,000 and £25,000.

It follows a consultation on the future of the community hall with options to demolish and rebuild it or refurbish the existing site on the table.

Council bosses have insisted the feedback from the consultation will be the basis of the designs they will create.

But Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Island Independents, said it was a waste of time.

He said: “They consulted with people on a new hall, but they never consulted on if people wanted the old one revamped.

“The big problem I have got with it is they now risk all the aggravation with the residents over what to do with it, and now they want to go and spend all this money on consultants to find out if it’s worth having or not.

“I just find it all very strange. It just doesn’t make sense.

“If the Paddocks had been maintained properly, we wouldn’t be in this situation, but it’s been allowed to be run down.

“The fear is it could end up being sold off to a private company. But it needs to be run by the community.”

Fellow independent Peter Greig said: “The council know what the people want. They want to see the Paddocks as it is now completely refurbished. We don’t it to be demolished.

“I’m getting fed up of seeing Canvey buildings knocked down; we lost the King Canute to a Co-Op, we’re losing the Admiral Jellicoe, and the Paddocks; we don’t know what is going to happen.

“They need to get on with it, we can’t keep mucking about spending more money on consultations and studies, it’s just a waste of money.”

Councillor Jan Payne said: "I'd much rather see money spent on the Paddocks in a productive way than more studies. Don't knock it down but reignite the memories and experiences that we all have.

"Involve local builders in some kind of 'Big Build' project to make this more of a community project with genuine input from the residents. Not a predetermined survey of what certain individuals 'feel' is what the community want."

Norman Smith, Conservative leader of Castle Point Council, said: “The consultation has happened, and the public have given their feedback. This feedback is going to be presented to a specialist in community halls who will create a design based on what the people want.

“We didn’t have the capacity to do it in house, and the people who will take it on will have great experience in community halls, as it’ll be what they specialise in. The feedback will be completely given to them, and then once they have completed the study their findings will then be consulted on again.”