A HISTORIC cricket pavilion which has been “left to rot” is set to be torn down amid fears it will cost too much to restore.
An architect brought into assess the viability of the pavilion, in Southchurch Park, has advised Southend Council it would be too expensive to repair, with costs estimated about £700,000.
The dilapidated pavilion, thought to be more than 100 years old, has reportedly become a target for vandals in recent months.
The future of the building has been under the spotlight amid calls from the community to bring it back to life.
But council bosses delivered a bleak update during a meeting on Tuesday, when Independent Thorpe ward councillor, Ron Woodley, asked when the pavilion would be “restored to its former glory”.
In response, Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture and tourism, said: “The old cricket pavilion in Southchurch Park has clearly reached the end of its useful life and is in an extremely poor condition.
“An architect was appointed to assess the building, its condition, opportunities to restore it, costs and to liaise with local groups, including Project Southchurch, the bowls club and the cricket club.
“All have visited the building, as have I, and deem it not fit for purpose and that a new building would be the preferred route for their uses. The building is of poor build quality in any event and would cost between £600,000 and £700,000 to repair, which is not economical or an efficient use of council funds even if they were available.”
Ms Mulroney added plans were being drawn up to demolish the pavilion and reinstate the area it is based on as park land.
She said the council would hold discussions with community groups about a new building, but warned a “thoroughly worked” business case would be needed before a replacement could be considered.
A disappointed Mr Woodley said: “The Australian cricket team was hosted in that pavilion and yet we say we haven’t got the funds to repair it?
“Over the years we had the funds. We just let it rot.
“The risk was not being taken into consideration of it being vandalised and it has been vandalised by local people because they could get into it.”