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Campaigners say ‘fight isn’t over yet’ as Hackney Road bingo hall development is deferred

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 April 2017

Residents are angry because Mecca Bingo in Hackney is closing down

Residents are angry because Mecca Bingo in Hackney is closing down

Archant

Campaigners have welcomed the decision to defer a controversial luxury housing development on the site of the old bingo hall in Hackney Road.

At a planning sub-committee hearing on Wednesday night, councillors voted three to one in favour of putting off a decision on the project, saying the design was unresolved, needed work and was not ready to be finally approved.

Hundreds of people have protested against the development at the old Mecca Bingo site, which has been derelict since closing unexpectedly two years ago.

Hackney Property Holdings LLP (HPH) bought the iconic building for £4.5million in 2014 and wants to build offices and 83 homes on the land.

But bingo players, neighbours and heritage groups have fought them every step of the way – and 122 of 124 people who responded to the consultation did so to object.

They don’t want the building, which opened in the 1930s as the Odeon Cinema and ran as a bingo hall for more than 50 years, to go.

Speaking after the meeting, Lucy Rogers said: “We are glad that the decision to permit this damaging scheme has been deferred and that one aspect of its anti-social impact might be changed. The podium level may be lowered by one floor but this does not deal with our serious concerns about the character of the building, the tower or the absence of community space.”

She added that the five minutes offered to neighbours to make an alternative case was not fair.

“Neighbours and stakeholders in the area have never been consulted or asked for their input,” she said. “We intend to be fully involved in the next stage of this process so that the needs of the local community can be a beneficial part of this major scheme.”

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