Snooker club in Highams Park fails to fight off eviction

IDS described club closure as 'great loss' for community

Owner Adrian Bullock with staff Karen Ruffell and Kevin Bryne inside the Hurricane Room

Famous faces on the club's dedicated wall of fame

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Waltham Forest

A popular snooker club which battled eviction has closed after 35 years.

The Hurricane Room at the former Regal cinema in Beech Hall Road, Highams Park, had 3,000 members, but has been forced to shut its doors as the building’s owner prepares to redevelop the site.

Club owner Adrian Bullock, 48, was served an eviction notice three months ago by landowner Ricky Gardezi, managing director of Total Security Services (TSS), who plans to turn the locally-listed building into his company's headquarters. 

Chingford MP Iain Duncan-Smith intervened and called for the club to be granted a stay of execution, describing the forced closure as a "great loss for the community".

But the Guardian understands Mr Gardezi rejected a meeting request from Mr Duncan Smith.

The part of the building occupied by the club will now remain empty for the foreseeable future as a planning application is yet to be submitted.

A decision is still pending on the proposed demolition of the adjacent, derelict former Shelz restaurant to build four-storey offices.

Describing his disappointment at the closure, Mr Bullock said: "Time was of the essence and we ran out of time.

"I never thought I would be there forever, but I never thought it would close down. 

"The club could have been saved, but there was no willingness from Ricky. 

"It is devastating for the users. The family spirit has been lost and community will be far worse off." 

He said emotions were running high when the last night arrived.

"It was very emotional and staff and customers were trying not to come to tears. Sunday was a sad and tough day,” he added.

"After speaking to many of the older members, many of them said they would not play anymore because Walthamstow and Enfield do not offer what they want. 

"The club had such a bright, potential future with lots of youngsters wanting to join, but we had to turn them away."

Jeweller by trade and decade-long member Devon Martin, 52, travelled down from Hackney because the 'vibe was so good'.

"It was a recreational place where people from all walks of life came together to play a game of snooker and socialise. 

"I heard it was closing five weeks but it felt like it happened within a blink of an eye and has left a big vacuum in the community. 

"It was a communal place for so many people but I know ninety-five per cent of the people I met, I will never see again." 

Comments (6)

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4:59pm Tue 26 Aug 14

jonny mash says...

Well done IDS for trying but rather than the quiet man they should have approached Barry Hernia MBE. He could've got The Matchroom Mob and Chas and Dave to re-record their novelty hit records "Snooker Loopy" and "The Romford Rap", they could've even had a benefit concert on the pitch at Leyton Orient which Barry still owns. Failing that a Tweet to Lord Alan Sugar of Chigwell would have raised the profile of the campaign
Well done IDS for trying but rather than the quiet man they should have approached Barry Hernia MBE. He could've got The Matchroom Mob and Chas and Dave to re-record their novelty hit records "Snooker Loopy" and "The Romford Rap", they could've even had a benefit concert on the pitch at Leyton Orient which Barry still owns. Failing that a Tweet to Lord Alan Sugar of Chigwell would have raised the profile of the campaign jonny mash
  • Score: -13

8:17pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Villagecranberry says...

The developers have moved the balls when nobody was looking and it is a shame that the is no cushion for this blow. Must have come as a shot in the dark. Shame there are not deep pockets out there to have taken the balls in the air. Give this club a break someone?
The developers have moved the balls when nobody was looking and it is a shame that the is no cushion for this blow. Must have come as a shot in the dark. Shame there are not deep pockets out there to have taken the balls in the air. Give this club a break someone? Villagecranberry
  • Score: -6

7:53am Wed 27 Aug 14

The Drains says...

BH doesnt own Leyton Orient
BH doesnt own Leyton Orient The Drains
  • Score: 6

8:05am Wed 27 Aug 14

Villagecranberry says...

The Drains wrote:
BH doesnt own Leyton Orient
Yes he still owns it. Don't be fooled.
[quote][p][bold]The Drains[/bold] wrote: BH doesnt own Leyton Orient[/p][/quote]Yes he still owns it. Don't be fooled. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -6

1:08pm Wed 27 Aug 14

jonny mash says...

Villagecranberry wrote:
The Drains wrote:
BH doesnt own Leyton Orient
Yes he still owns it. Don't be fooled.
He did not sell the stadium (which is the club's biggest asset) to the new owner. Very shrewd
[quote][p][bold]Villagecranberry[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Drains[/bold] wrote: BH doesnt own Leyton Orient[/p][/quote]Yes he still owns it. Don't be fooled.[/p][/quote]He did not sell the stadium (which is the club's biggest asset) to the new owner. Very shrewd jonny mash
  • Score: -1

10:22pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Gray Chingford says...

Like usual the planner where using the front entrance to be for the office block on the old s Shelz restaurant
But know them they will change it so the front entrance is for new flats on the site of the snooker hall
ps
could they move the snooker hall to the old budgen shop so the locals are kept happy
Like usual the planner where using the front entrance to be for the office block on the old s Shelz restaurant But know them they will change it so the front entrance is for new flats on the site of the snooker hall ps could they move the snooker hall to the old budgen shop so the locals are kept happy Gray Chingford
  • Score: 2
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