Wanstead Youth Centre campaigners scratch heads

The front of Wanstead Youth Centre with Redbridge Borough Council sign

Residents campaigning against Redbridge’s plan to close Wanstead Youth Centre are mystified by the council’s plan after it announced it wanted to open new facilities in the borough.

Redbridge Council leader Councillor Jas Athwal told the Evening Standard last week about plans to open a new lido and gym in Valentine’s Park, as well as of the new Wanstead Leisure Centre which is currently under construction.

But the campaigners say they cannot understand what is the point of opening new venues when the council is planning to close an existing facility which is used by 1,200 people each week.

A spokesperson for the campaigners said: “The Wanstead Youth Centre is the only one of its kind in the West of the borough and if it closes many of the activities that happen there for young people and vulnerable members of the community won’t be able to continue. The Council has repeatedly stated there is no money for maintenance and repair so closure has to be considered.

“How can the Council can find the money to invest in new leisure facilities but not to maintain an exiting well used and well-loved community leisure asset?”

It is also not clear what the council’s current position is. The original plan – first proposed in January this year – was for the centre to be closed by the end of April. But so far as is known, no decision has yet been taken. Campaigners have called for a 12-month moratorium on the decision to allow proper consultation and consideration of all the options.

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