A COMMUNITY centre on Canvey will close for six months in the new year so a long-awaited £1.5million refurbishment project can finally begin.

Urgent repairs are need at The Paddocks, on Long Road, Canvey, so the 1970s building can remain open to public and continue to be used by community groups.

On Wednesday night, Castle Point Council’s cabinet agreed to allocate a further £625,000 to the project and confirmed that work will start in the new year, however a specific date has not been confirmed.

The additional funding takes the total for the project to more than £1.5million to improve the interior and exterior of the building, as well as upgrading electrics, heating, lighting and ventilation systems.

The centre will have to close while the work takes place.

Dave Blackwell, Canvey Independent Party councillor and leader of the council, said: “The Paddocks is an ageing building, but we recognise its value to the community and as an asset to the council.

“We have done our calculations carefully and are assured that to use council reserves in this way represents value for money for the public purse.

“Renovation represents the best value for money and preserves and important part of Canvey’s heritage.”

Work on The Paddocks will begin “early in the new year” and is expected to take up to six months.

The Paddocks will be closed during the renovations with users and community groups offered alternative provision at other council facilities.

In a report to the meeting, councillors heard that £884,000 from the sale of The Chapman Sands Sailing Club was ringfenced for the work in early 2023.

However, quotes had come in much higher than expected when the improvement work was tendered for and more cash would be needed.

Mr Blackwell added: “We recognise the short-term inconvenience this closure will cause our customers, but it is a balance.

“This is vital and welcome improvement work which will ensure the hall remains open for use well into the future.”

The council leader also previously stressed how they “strongly believe the renovation” represents the “best value for money and preserves part of Canvey’s heritage”.