DISAPPOINTMENT has been expressed over delays to the opening of a long-awaited £1million community hall.

In 2010, Epping Forest District Council agreed to spend £802,000 and Essex County Council contributed a £270,000 grant to renovate Limes Farm Hall in the Limes Farm estate in Chigwell.

For years residents had complained that the old community hall was too small and too dilapidated to host meetings of the estate’s many groups, classes and workshops.

The new community hall will boast a number of large spacious rooms, a specially designed youth club and spaces for a medical centre and the district council’s local housing office.

However, with the opening date originally set for early November, disappointment has been expressed that complications with wiring the new building and clearing asbestos from the rennovated section now means that the opening date has been pushed back until December 14.

Allen Warner, 64, who lives in Copperfield in Limes Farm, was involved in the original campaign for the renovation of the community hall in 2006.

He said: “I think that they originally said that the work would be finished by the end of this month but I thought that something is bound to go wrong.

“I just hope there are no more delays because people in Limes Farm have been waiting for this for a very long time.

“For years we had to just put up with a Portakabin. The kids need somewhere where they can go and socialise and learn.”

Kevin Norwood, chairman of the Limes Farm Community Association, said: “It is disappointing about the delay.

“Whenever I speak to young people on the estate they ask when the new community hall will be opening because they just want somewhere to hang out.

“The centre will provide so much, it will be a place where residents of all ages can come together. It will also be a place where essential services can be accessed."

A spokesman for Epping Forest District Council said: "The redevelopment of Limes Farm Hall is steaming ahead. While some complications such as the need to deal with asbestos in the old building and the need for a new power cable have pushed back the opening by a few weeks, the project overall is going incredibly well.

"We are getting some fantastic feedback from local people who cannot wait for the new hall to open."

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