The future of Wanstead Youth Centre

The decision about the future of Wanstead Youth Centre on Elmcroft Avenue poses a few difficult issues.

Overwhelmingly it seems that a proposal from Redbridge council to close the centre is about money – it will need, apparently, £2.4m to bring it up to scratch, at a time when public finances are under more stress than normal and when a multi-million pound investment is being made in the new Wanstead Leisure Centre.

But losing a public asset like the centre, which includes sports halls, a theatre and function rooms, will be a real loss for the community. Anti-closure campaigners say 1,200 people use the centre each week.

The building itself dates from the mid-1940s and originally formed part of the Nightingale High School site. This school closed in 1987 and was mostly demolished, though the Nightingale Primary School which took over the site could eventually have used many of the classrooms. It had to install prefab classrooms for many years.

It feels that there is an inevitability that, should Redbridge proceed with its plan to close the site, more houses will be built, even though that spot where Elmcroft meets Deynecourt now feels quite dense.

The council says: “The Council is considering alternatives to renovating the building, including redevelopment. We would expect any redevelopment of the site to include community space as a precondition of planning permission being granted.”

Local sports groups which use the premises are among those calling on the council not to close the site. Demolition would undoubtedly mean the loss of a community asset, just as losing the old high school buildings did.

What’s really needed is a benefactor who would take on the site, renovate some or all of the facilities, and preserve the centre for Wanstead’s future. If that’s not going to be Redbridge, then who will it be?

There is a consultation on the proposal at this page, which explains some of the reasoning behind the proposal.

There is also an e-petition against the closure, which is available on the Redbridge site, but (just like the planning site) it is not possible to give exact web addresses. Anyone looking for it will need to go to this page, and click on the word “e-petitions” in the first paragraph, then click on Wanstead Youth Centre. User-friendly this is not but don’t let that stop you having your say.

5 thoughts on “The future of Wanstead Youth Centre”

  1. Sad thing is
    I never it existed and have lived in wanstead for 15 years
    Just 800 metres away

    Youths getting together to do sports or other activities has been shown to improve their character
    And lead to less naughtiness ie slipping into crime or fights

    Research suggests It’s our primeval urge to be part of a tribe. A gang

    Apparently both and female

    Much better it’s a sports team ie rugby football boxing yoga ballet gymnastics art etc

    Than the alternative. Street gang

    Added benefit is they will also get fitter so feel better about themselves

    So this youth centre is a vital asset for the safely of teenagers in east london

    If it can be saved let’s make it so much
    More available. Ie publise it’s there

    When I first heard if Liss of this youth faculty. I felt so bad as I never knew it existed

  2. I was surprised to find that only 408 people had signed the e-petition when I signed just now. However, it took me several goes to manage to log in as although I have a Redbridge email account, I had to re-register to sign this e-petition. I hope more people manage to sign to save this very valuable asset to our community.

  3. Once again it’s all about money!yet Redbridge gave permission for an eyesore cabin on Christchurch Green at huge expense yet is mostly closed and hardly used when open .This went ahead despite lots of opposition. The Nightingale centre is a much used community provision , how short sited to close it and put in its place yet more flats with no thought of the pressure that puts on local facilities like schools and health care.Get your priorities right Redbridge!

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