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Crays Hill to lose villlage hall to cosmetic centre
VILLAGERS are set to lose their community hall after plans emerged to replace it with a cosmetic centre.
All Saints Worship Hall, in London Road, Crays Hill, could be demolished to makeway for a new business offering dental and facial treatments.
In 2009, Ramsden Crays Parochial Church Council voted to stop worshipping there because its congregation was too small.
The hall, which was built in 1914 by villagers, continued to be used as a community centre, but has been empty since it closed two years ago.
Ramsden Crays Parish Council had hoped to take over the site and bring a community facility back into use.
Plans to demolish the hall and build two family homes were given the thumbs-up by Basildon Council last year, but the church has now sold the centre to botox expert Monica Berrange instead.
Crays Hill resident Len Gridley, 55, from Oak Road, said: “The village has no meeting place or community hall left now, so the church should provide one.
“I’m not really bothered by what replaces it, but we’re owed another village hall.
“That building was built by the villagers for the church only because there was a clause if it were ever sold, the money would go back to the village, but the church has just ignored that and sold it and given us nothing.”
Parish councillors have called an urgent meeting to discuss what action they could take against the proposals.
They refused to comment to the Echo until then.
Mrs Berrange, who lives in Crays Hill, will use the first floor of the proposed cosmetic centre as living accommodation.
The business would be open from 9am until 8pm on weekdays and 9am until 4pm every Saturday.
Initially it needs two part-time and two full-time staff members, but that could increase to three full-time and four part-time.
Crouch ward Tory councillor Terri Sargent said: “I know the parish council has been trying to look into whether the building was owned by the community and I did try to assist, but it just costs too much to do it legally, and no one has that sort of money.
“I really admire the parish council for the work they’ve done in trying to keep the hall for the community and I’m really sorry they seem to have been unsuccessful.
“It’s really sad because there’s no other community building within the area of Crays Hill. The community has been dealt a bit of a blow.”
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