Residents unhappy at Stratford Rex re-opening proposals
12:00 23 February 2012
The manager of the firm set to take control of the Stratford Rex has pleaded with residents to “give them a chance”.
More than 30 people have objected to plans lodged by Enplex Limited to re-open the derelict High Street building as an entertainment complex.
People in Cam Road and the Burford Wharf apartments are worried that it will encourage crime and antisocial behaviour, littering and lead to car parking problems - with some believing opening another nightclub just yards from the Olympic Park is a missed opportunity.
The 168-year-old former theatre and opera house has been empty since it was repossessed by Newham Council in 2010 after its previous owners failed to pay rent and business rates.
Enplex operations director Angela Lewis said they were determined to get off on the right foot with the community.
She said: “Don’t brand us with the brush of the people that were here before because we are nothing like them.
“Unfortunately we have taken over a legacy of something that we really don’t have any sort of say in.
“We are not looking to put on all night hip-hop raves - all clubs will be members only and will target the pop and indie market.”
Among the proposals to go before Newham’s planning and licensing committee are plans to deploy guards for 24 hours a day, and the use of CCTV that detects if people have been loitering outside for long periods.
As well as clubs, the proposed complex will include a restaurant, wine bar, auditorium and 75-space car park.
Clearance work has already started at the site. Ms Lewis insisted no structural changes have been made.
Cam road resident Palmit Nijjar said he would prefer if the Rex was turned into a gym to capitalise on the Olympics.
He said: “It seems like a decision has already been made. They should be coming to us, getting our views, and then making a decision,
“The last time there was a nightclub here, there were massive parking issues and the cars caused a risk to safety,
“I agree with regenerating Stratford, but its got to be the right sort of regeneration. It could be a nice communal area there.
“They already have a casino at Westfield so why not put a nightclub there as well?”