Frampton Park estate's hall will be demolished for council development

Frampton Park Estate Community Hall. Picture: Google Maps

Frampton Park Estate Community Hall. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A Hackney estate’s community hall will be demolished after planning permission was given the green light on Wednesday.

Frampton Park estate’s community hall will be removed to make way for new housing under the condition that the council completes works to renovate and extend a smaller community hall, called Elsdale Hall.

The council’s in-house housebuilding programme has proposed demolishing the existing Frampton Park Estate Community Hall in Victoria Ward to make way for 69 homes with 23 for social rent and 12 for shared ownership. 

But residents, the estate’s tenants and residents association (TRA) and two ward councillors opposed the plans, arguing that the smaller Elsdale hall will not meet the needs of the more than 3,000 residents living on the estate.

A Frampton Park resident stated at the meeting: “The demolition of the community hall would be a travesty.”

The council’s application says the current usage of Frampton Court's hall "indicates that there is sufficient capacity for the services" which have operated there to be "accommodated at either" nearby halls Pitcairn or Elsdale. 

It adds that Elsdale is "most appropriate".

But councillors challenged the council’s report of the usage of the Frampton Park hall and Elsdales' suitability to meet community needs.

They argued that the London Plan and council’s own Local Plan caution against the loss of community infrastructure and that replacements must meet the needs of communities served. 

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Victoria Ward councillor Clare Joseph said: “The Housing Supply Programme was designed to make use of unused spaces but the community hall was in use. It was used every day by Hackney quest.

“If there was any underuse afterwards, it was probably due to the fact that residents were no longer able to book the hall as it was removed from the online list.

“The telephone booking number on the main entrance went unanswered or residents were told it could not be booked because of noise complaints

“And perhaps, also due to the fact that the hire rates were up to £376 a day.”

Cllr Clare Joseph stated that she did not believe that the £250,000 cash injection proposed by the council would be enough to develop “anything comparable” to the Frampton Park Hall.

She added: “We must protect the community spaces that we have. The population on Frampton Park is increasing.”

Non-profit Hackney Quest moved out of the community hall in 2018 and relocated to Poole Road after a change in council policy meant it could no longer use the hall for free.

Cllr Penny Wrout called the usage report "disingenuous".

She said: “Frampton Park kids had to squeeze into Hackney Quest’s pre-existing Poole Road club when their own youth club closed

“Youth activity on the estate has shrunk from nightly to just Friday nights at the Baptist Church.

“Popular day time activities like lunch clubs for the elderly which Hackney Quest ran when it occupied the large hall are also ignored."

But Chris Trowell head of Hackney’s Housing Supply Programme says the removal of the hall is a vital part of plans to provide more social housing for families in Hackney. 

He said: “At the beginning of this year 16 families who were already living on the Frampton Park estate moved into brand new high quality homes for social rent built on the site of the former Frampton Arms pub.

"They moved because they needed more space for their families or, because they had health difficulties.

“That meant their existing home was no longer suitable. The 16 homes that they vacated were let to 16 of the thousands of households on the councils growing waiting list.

“Now few people would think that repurposing that land to help address one of the greatest challenges that hackney faces was the wrong thing to do."

Mr Trowell then asserted that some of the 14 Frampton Park households classed as being in urgent need of an alternative home could be rehoused under the development plans. 

Planning officers discussed how the £250,000 allocated by the council to do up the Elsdale Hall would be adequate in light of its current condition.

One person in support of the planning application described the hall as “dilapidated, full of asbestos and really quite dreadful”.

Objections also included the overshadowing of blocks and a gated atrium which could sow division between current and future residents.