Planning permission has been turned down to convert the Reading Room to a private residence. In a very robust refusal the main reasons were the lack of provision of any mitigation for the loss of a local amenity, inappropriate and unsightly development, and insufficient light within the property.
Await further developments on the future of this local amenity.
The Reading Room, North Ockendon
The Reading Room was built in 1885 in Church Lane for the public by the lord of the manor for locals and farm workers to provide somewhere for them to read news papers and other material. In 1895 it had 40 ordinary members. Vestry meetings were held there from 1906 to 1910. It is at the centre of the village and has been used over the years for parties, village meetings, hand bell ringing, sports and entertainment. It was used by the Sports and Social Club for many years. The villagers purchased the property from the estate of H. Benyon in 1964 for the cost of six pence per household to cover the cost of £20 (negotiated down from £2000) plus expenses. It is a building of historical importance to the village with a wonderful interior and is in keeping with the other buildings locally, a link back to the by-gone age of benevolent land ownership.
Planning submission has been put in to Havering council application 1989 (click on link) to have a change of use of the building from a community amenity to a 2 bedroom residential property – we would like to bring this building back from the brink once more, and revive it’s use in the advancement of local community development, of the arts, culture, and the local heritage.