MAJOR concerns have been raised a £15,000 investment to refurbish and repair a vital community centre is in jeopardy after being “held up” by the new Labour-led administration.

Under the previous Tory administration, thousands of pounds were allocated to the Wick Community Centre, in Silver Island Way, Wickford, to help secure the building for years to come.

However, Wickford Park councillor George Jeffrey has claimed the funding may not be released under the new administration and fears volunteers at the community centre have been “left in limbo”.

Labour councillor for community and parliamentary candidate in South Basildon and East Thurrock, Jack Ferguson, has said new “area committees” will be set up following the General Election where ward councillors will be able to have a say on where funding is allocated.

Mr Jeffrey claims he has been given “no assurances” of where the money will go.

He said: “I have tried to speak to officers from April and I have basically been told that the money might now be diverted.

“It’s not new money or a new announcement. This was secured much before the election period but now it sounds like it’s not dead certain.

“Ever since the new administration have got in, it’s been in limbo. This funding had full council approval so I am not sure what an area committee is going to do that full council didn’t.

“Other investments have gone out so why not this, it makes no sense. It is unfair for the community to be held ransom like this.”

The £15,000 investment was originally agreed by Basildon Council in February this year.

Mr Ferguson said: “We are looking to establish area committees, as soon as purdah has ended, where all ward councillors will be able to have a say in how funds are invested in their areas. Councillor Jeffery will be able to have a say about the funds then.

“The money is not on hold. It just can’t be released because committees cannot meet at the moment because of purdah and councillor Jeffery knows this.”

The £15,000 investment was set to help support the centre and carry out crucial repairs and refurbishments.

  • The other candidates for South Basildon and East Thurrock are Simon Breedon (Social Democratic Party), Steven Burnett (Ind), Elizabeth Grant (Green), James McMurdock (Reform), Stephen Metcalfe (Con), Neil Speight (Ind) and Dave Thomas (Lib Dem).