Thousands of the borough’s elderly and vulnerable are losing a “vital lifeline” as the council plans to sell off another community building.

Under Waltham Forest Council’s plans to make the “best use of its assets” it has decided to sell the former South Chingford Library for an anticipated £900,000.

The move has been slammed as “appalling” after the council spent a claimed £300,000 on a "totally inadequate" refurbishment before Age UK took up residence in 2014.

There is some confusion over the refurbishment's actual figure with some Conservative politicans claiming it totalled £750,000.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Age UK moved here in 2014

This came after the council controversially shut the library in 2011 to help the town hall save £1 million from its library services budget.

Every year, Age UK welcomes more than 4,000 elderly and vulnerable people through its doors for weekly groups and classes.

The various services help the borough’s most vulnerable get financial advice, escape loneliness, become computer literate and get fit at all sorts of exercise classes.

In the last financial year alone, the community hub helped 669 people claim £533,586 in benefits they were entitled to.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

2011: They tried their best to keep the library open

Age UK had been on a five year lease with the council from January, 2016, but were always subject to a six-month break clause.

The man in charge of economic growth and high streets in the borough, councillor Simon Miller, confirmed the council would be bringing the lease to an end.

Cllr Miller said: “Potential for redevelopment for up to 18 units with up to 50% affordable.

"Informal planning advice was received which confirmed this potential.

“If the site were to be sold to a residential developer a receipt of up to £900,000 is anticipated.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Even these vicars had a go

“Officers are happy to work with Age UK in terms of assisting the organisation find alternative accommodation.”

Conservative councillor Jemma Hemsted, of Valley ward in Chingford, blasted the council’s decision.

She said: “I am appalled and saddened that Age UK who provide a vital lifeline for the borough’s vulnerable and elderly is being shut down by the Labour council.

“In 2011 the popular library was shut down in order to save £1 million, the council then spent £750,000 on a totally inadequate refurb, now less than 6 years later they plan to sell it off to the highest bidder.

“Once this building goes there will be no civic buildings left in south Chingford, which just goes to show how little the Labour council cares about us that live here.”

The MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, Iain Duncan Smith also waded in to question the council’s decision.

He said: “It is worth making the point that £750,000 of taxpayers’ money was spend very recently on improving the building.

“This work appears to have been poorly carried out, window frames appear to be rotting away to the extent that one can put one’s finger through the frames and the users had to get Ward Forum funding to pay for basics like window blinds.

“How was it that much money was spent on this building with no real tangible improvement and then for it to be earmarked for re-development so soon after, effectively writing off that money?”

The community hub is also home to Waltham Forest Low Vision Forum, Waltham Forest Parkinson’s Group and Reaching Out East.

Waltham Forest Council has been contacted for a further comment.