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Former pub to be Christian centre
A FORMER pub is set to get a new lease of life after plans were approved to turn it into a Christian community centre.
The Nigerian-founded Redeemed Christian Church of God has got permission to convert the Long Riding pub into the new centre.
The pub in Long Riding, Basildon, closed last year. It is now set to host religious meetings, counselling, educational workshops and kids ‘activity clubs.
Phil Rackley, leader of the Independent Labour group and ward councillor for St Martins, said: “I think this could actually be a positive development in the sense of it being a community centre.
“That side of Long Riding could benefit from something for community use, and this facility may turn out to be very useful and well-used.
“Anything is better than the building being left to rot.”
The community centre will cater for up to 80 visitors at a time and could be open from 8am until 10pm, but the news hasn’t gone down well with some residents.
Russell Saunders, 39, of Long Riding, said: “I’m not happy about this at all.
“The pub has been there for such a long time, but businesses seem to be closing down all over Basildon these days. I wouldn’t mind the pub not re-opening again as long as it was going to be turned into something useful like a shop or somewhere for the kids to go.
“This centre will not benefit the whole community and seems to target only a small section of people. It’s not really fair.”
Malcolm Buckley, Tory councillor responsible for regeneration, said: “It’s important disused buildings are brought back into use, but I can understand to a certain extent people’s concerns.
“If we are talking about mainstream churches they don’t cause people too many problems, but with more minority groups people have concerns about whether they’re legitimate.
“This could be beneficial to the whole community by offering activities in an area where there is not enough going on to keep residents occupied.”
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