The new owners of two community halls in Wanstead have spoken about their plans for the future

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Paul Samouelle and Maria Sanchez run Treehouse Nursery in Woodbine Place and will soon complete the purchase of Grove Hall and Centenary Hall from the United Reformed Church Paul Samouelle and Maria Sanchez run Treehouse Nursery in Woodbine Place and will soon complete the purchase of Grove Hall and Centenary Hall from the United Reformed Church

THE NEW owners of two well-used community halls have outlined their vision for the future of the buildings.

Paul Samouelle and Maria Sanchez run Treehouse Nursery in Woodbine Place in Wanstead will soon complete the purchase of Grove Hall and Centenary Hall from the nearby United Reformed Church.

The pair have run the nursery, and its after-school club, since 1996, and previously ran another nursery in South Woodford.

Mr Samouelle said: “We've got about 50 using the after-school club at the moment, so we're hoping to bring that up to 70 by moving the club to the hall.

“That way we'll have the extra capacity to have more children at the nursery.

“The inside of Centenary hall is just beautiful. We want too keep it that way, we don't want to subdivide the rooms or anything. We're going to sand the floors and we're looking forward to using it.”

Ms Sanchez also sought to allay fears that the sale would see local groups unable to use the hall, adding that there would be slots available in the evening following their after-school club.

She said: “There are a lot of local groups, like scouts and cubs, that use the hall and once we're up and running obviously we'll liaise with those groups to see if we can accommodate them.

“Rev Selby told us that there were a number of groups interested in buying the halls but we were chosen because we were part of the community and providing a service to local families.”

The news comes after weeks of speculation by local residents over the new owners, after it was announced last Autumn that the church would have to sell the halls to raise much-needed funds.

Reverend Rosalind Selby said: “I think it's great.

"I'm happy that it's going to be used by a nursery that will benefit the community and not just a group using it itself.”

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