COUNCILLORS are yet to rule out whether Mill Hall will be demolished and re-built as they confirm no new homes will be built on the site.

A cross-party task force of Rochford district councillors was tasked with responding to feedback over the controversial Mill Hall redevelopment plan.

The group focused on developing a fresh vision for the size, scale, and configuration of a new community centre. 

But members also considered the funding options and whether the existing centre should be refurbished or re-built.

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Councillors expressed a strong view that any vision would not include residential or commercial units with parking capacity remaining as present.

However, campaigners are still unhappy.

John Payton, chairman of the Save Mill Hall Community Group, is furious about the Council still not completely ruling out whether Mill Hall will be demolished.

He says he will continue to fight to make the Mill Hall an Asset of Community Value (ACV), protecting the site from future development.

He said: “After much badgering from us, quite right, they have confirmed publicly that there will be no residential development.

“However, in our opinion, nothing has changed, and Mill Hall is still proposed to potentially be demolished which we will continue to fight against.

“We maintain Mill Hall must be granted ACV status and be protected from demolition with reinvestment into the building and improved management going forward.

“Our campaign wants to see the Mill Hall protected and reinvigorated with investment into the building and installation of a competent and experienced arts and events management company. Nothing has changed.”

Mr Payton and a number of residents sent off a nomination, on March 10, for an Asset of Community Value to prevent Mills Hall from being demolished and rebuilt.

A petition was set up to support the nomination and to show the council how valued Mills Hall is by the community.

However, councillor Ian Ward, says rebuilding Mill Hall would be good for Rayleigh, adding: “With Mill Hall, all options are still open, there is still further exploratory looking at Mill Hall itself, as whether it can be net-zero as we have a policy where everything has to be net-zero. My own personal opinion is that in reality the Mill Hall should be rebuilt from scratch under a net-zero basis so the costs will be less.”

“Personally, I want a state-of-the-art civic centre, that can do everything it needs to do. I wanted the whole site redeveloped as a statement, that this is Rayleigh, we can have big events here.”