Chafford Hundred Community Centre gets its licence

THE CHAFFORD HUNDRED community hall in Drake Road was saved from possible closure after being granted a public events licence by Thurrock Councils Licensing Committee.

Anybody who has come to know Chafford community politics over the years is aware that there is always an element of “hysteria” and this meeting was to prove no exception as for two hours, the debate over the licence became fractious, personal and tetchy in equal measure.

The crux of the matter was a number of incidents at the hall when loud music was being played on a Saturday night exacerbated by the doors being left open, and young people drinking alcohol outside.

Council officers reported attending at the location and on one occasion retreating fearing for their personal safety.

The noise had effected local residents. Danny Baigent from Drake Road stated that he had to turn his television up to full volume while Lee Hassan from Caravel Close told the committee that the noise was ruining his life.

Mr Baigent was the voice of reason and told the chamber that he approved of 98% of events at the centre but all that was needed was stipulations on a licence in relation to sound modification.

Cllr Garry Hague suggested that the hall has a system similar to that in Cowdray Hall which cuts the music out should the doors or windows be opened.

Chair of the hall committee, cllr Martin Healy was in combative mood. The passionate irishman seemed to be under the impression he was fighting the Good Friday agreement and the Siege of Ennis as he held aloft a petition of 300 signatures supporting the hall.

Criticisms, misunderstandings and tensions bounced around but the hall members received vocal support from the gallery from the Thurrock Over-50’s group.

After two hours the cross-party committee made up of Labour’s Wendy Curtis and Mike Stone and Tory Steve Veryard gave approval for the licence with provisos including keeping the side doors of the Drake Road hall closed and a noise reduction system being installed so neighbours would not be disturbed.

Committee chairman cllr Stone said: “The hall is run by the community for the community and it is good to see that community spirit is still alive in Thurrock.”

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