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Royal visit to the Hanlon Community Centre

Published Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, formally opened the first project completed as part of the £1.3 billion Meridian Water development.

The project has seen St John's Church, which was closed because of falling numbers of parishioners and structural problems, redeveloped with Enfield Council help and converted into the a centre comprising a church, community centre and primary school.

Prince Andrew opened the Hanlon Community Centre & St Matthew’s CE Primary School, Edmonton Annex, on 16 July.

Enfield Council Leader, Cllr Doug Taylor, said: “This is a fantastic project which has helped save the church from closure, provided first rate community facilities and helped provide much needed primary school places in Enfield.

“We wouldn't have been able to complete this project without the assistance of the church and this scheme is a superb example of how the Council and its partners listen to what residents want and deliver the services and support they need.

”This is the first step of the transformation of Upper Edmonton and we’ll continue to work with organisations like the Church to deliver first-rate schemes which provide fantastic facilities, improve the area, save money, improve the area and set the stage for the greater things to come.”

Fr Nigel Asbridge, the Priest Missioner at St John’s said: ”Meridian Water offers this downtrodden community a chance of the jobs, new homes, schools, bus and train routes, and the access to shops and services that we so badly need.  Our parish is really pleased to have been able to contribute in some small way to the Council’s vision for the transformation of our area."

The £1.3 billion Meridian Water project, which is being delivered by Enfield Council, will be one of the biggest green developments in Britain.

It will provide waterfront living, community facilities, leisure and employment opportunities and provide 3,000 jobs and 5,000 homes, bringing massive investment to the area and helping to rejuvenate a deprived part of Enfield in the process.

St Johns Church in Edmonton was closed in mid 2000 because of structural problems and falling numbers of parishioners, but talks with Enfield Council about the Meridian Water project on land at the back of the church showed potentially thousands of new parishioners moving into the area.

Following talks, Enfield Council bought St Marys Centre, also owned by the Parish, which was to be listed for sale, in nearby Craig Park for use as a community facility while the neighbouring youth centre was refurbished.

In return the church promised to use the money to refurbish the St Johns Church building and re-open it.

Following a consultation with residents, the council found people living in the area wanted community facilities in place on the Meridian Water site before homes were built – especially schools and meeting places.

This was discussed with the church who agreed, as part of the St Johns redevelopment, to create a community centre to replace the existing facility – the Hanlon Centre, situated in a nearby church hall.

The church has now been split into two, with the rear section used as a church and the front used as a two-storey community centre.

Part of the church has also been used as a small 20-30 place primary school – St  Matthew’s C of E School (Edmonton Annex) which will extend into the church hall later this year.

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