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Future of Hackney Road bingo hall to be decided

PUBLISHED: 15:41 03 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:19 03 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 will learn this week whether developers have the green light to flatten a historic Hackney Road bingo hall to build luxury flats.

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.

The Cinema Theatre Association, which looks out for historic picturehouses, has called for it to be made an Asset of Community Value (ACV) – making it harder for developers to change the use of the building.

The national body said: “The cinema has considerable architectural significance as an unaltered example of the streamlined Odeon-style, and should be included on Hackney’s Local List of heritage buildings.

“Visually and in terms of socio-historic interest it makes an important contribution to the streetscape and interest of the Hackney Road Conservation Area.”

Aside from the building’s importance, HPH’s claim it could only afford to build eight “affordable homes” – 10 per cent – caused anger, and even Hackney mayor Phil Glanville told them to come back with an offer closer to the 50pc London policy.

He told the Gazette at the time: “I would think 10pc is nowhere near good enough. If you think about it in terms of the site and where it’s located I think we’d want to see a lot more affordable housing in the development.”

Bosses now say they can build 17 – 12 affordable (80 per cent of market rate) and five three-bedroom council homes and have also reduced the height of the planned development after opposition.

Councillors will vote on the application on Wednesday. If approved, it will be referred to the Greater London Authority (GLA) for approval.

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