Redbridge leader Councillor Jas Athwal has signalled that there will be no reprieve for the Wanstead Youth Centre when a decision on its future is taken by the council in September.
Writing in the Wanstead Village Directory, Councillor Athwal said: “Wanstead is a wonderful place to live, work and visit. As a council we are committed to investing in services that matter most to the people who live across our borough, but we do need to spend our limited funding wisely.”
He said that the council “had invested significantly in Wanstead”, adding: “We are building an improved leisure centre, which will house a brand-new 25m swimming pool and dance facility.”
However that will not satisfy the campaigners hoping to save Wanstead Youth Centre on Elmcroft Avenue, since the many groups which use it every week have no similar or suitable venues in which they can hold their events. Campaigners say 1,500 people a week use the centre for a wide variety of activities, using the centre’s sports halls, theatre, kitchens and other facilities. It seems inevitable that many of those activities will now cease.
In the article Councillor Athwal said a new lido which is being built in Valentine’s Park would be built sustainably and cover its own costs.
He also said the centre was “unfortunately, in its current condition… no longer suitable for long-term use due to the extensive repairs needed to make it fit for purpose”. However at the public meeting held at the centre in March, Mark Baigent, Redbridge’s corporate director of regeneration and culture, did confirm that the building was currently safe.