It's ten years ago this week since we reported on the sadness and disappointment that greeted plans to convert a historic building into flats.

The loss to the community of a historic former town hall which looks set to be turned into flats has been described as a 'sad inevitability'.

The listed building in The Ridgeway, Chingford, was purchased by developer Fairview New Homes, which said it hoped to find a use which would provide public access as part of a surrounding housing development.

The company was required to retain the town hall, which dates back to 1929, when it was granted permission to demolish other buildings on the site.

But Fairview has been unable to attract a proposal for community use it considers viable and is now seeking permission to convert it into five flats, alongside the 88 other homes planned for the site.

A council report to be considered by the planning committee on Tuesday describes the situation as a "missed opportunity".

Recommending that the application is approved, it added: "The application form included a number of potential uses including residential, community-based infrastructure, assembly and leisure uses, financial and professional services and office use.

"The applicant has received limited interest from such operators, apart from for residential purposes."

But Bill Bayliss, 75, who lives next door to the site in St Egbert's Way, expressed his anger that his proposal to create an arts and community space did not win support from councillors and residents.

He said: "There's a sad inevitability about it all. We are losing our heritage in Chingford. Along with the fact people can't afford to rent library rooms and halls it shows our community is being eroded.

"I expected it though because there hasn't been enough support from local representatives who could've helped keep it for local people to benefit from."

Chingford councillor and Conservative group deputy leader, Michael Lewis, expressed sadness that residents would be deprived of using a historically significant building.

He said: "It’s a real shame because it has played a great role in the area and now it looks likely to become flats.

"In fairness to Fairview they did try and market it to the health sector but in the end the prospect of all the costs of converting it into that use rather put people off.

"But the loss of community use there is very disappointing."