doc

AN OLD Lewisham snooker hall left boarded-up since 2012 could be turned into a community centre and food bank by a church group.

The old Rileys club on Lewisham High Street was bought by The Tabernacle Church, based on Algernon Road, around 18 months ago.

Yvonne Palmer, a member of the church's management board, said the church could end up spending around £3m on the building.

News Shopper: Former Lewisham Rileys snooker hall could become church-run community centre

She explained: "We've been around for over 50 years in the borough and do a lot of community work which is one of the reasons we wanted another building. We've outgrown this one.

"We run Lewisham's only central foodbank and that will be operating from there too. To be honest as soon as we opened it, we realised that we needed more space for it."

Alongside the foodbank, which currently operates out of their Algernon Road building two days a week, the old hall would hold a community cafe, children's area, space for church volunteers and a conference room. It would also hold regular Sunday services.

News Shopper: Former Lewisham Rileys snooker hall could become church-run community centre

A series of open days have been held this month where people could have a look around the building, which has some beautiful old leaded-windows, and find out more about the plans.

Ms Palmer said: "It's very derelict but it's also very interesting as a building.

"The local community have been really interested.

"It's a lovely old building and really needs some love and attention which we're hoping to give it."

Ms Palmer said, if planning permission is granted, the whole project would take around 15 months to put together.