Dozens of residents and councillors assembled outside Epsom Town Hall last week to protest plans to redevelop the Wells Community Centre for housing.

The proposal would see the erection of 23 new homes, a community hall and a new playground with new play equipment on the site on Spa Drive.

Conservative County Councillor Bernie Muir, who joined the protest on November 15, slammed the Residents Association for “destroying the functionality and identity of Epsom”.

The decision to close the Wells Community Centre was made in 2015 on the grounds that it was no longer financially viable due to a funding shortfall of £2.5 million by 2020.

Some community services on offer for older residents have already been moved from The Wells Centre in Spa Drive to the Longmead Centre in Sefton Road.

A public consultation was held in October over the site’s future use, including the proposal to demolish the Wells Centre for housing and a community hall.

Councillor Muir said: “The community has been abandoned. The elderly isolated and the children no longer able to walk to their playgroup.

“The so called consultation two weeks ago, when plans were presented to the community was the final straw.

“There is no justifiable reason for the closure, there are more intelligent ways to make money, better ways to meet affordable housing targets and no government inspector would demand the closure of such a centre to meet any target.”

A spokesman for Epsom and Ewell Borough Council said: “ We have held public meetings and provided a direct email address for residents to ask us questions. The engagement process run in October only produced 40 responses, despite a direct mail to over 500 households.

“An offer to provide a new purpose built community hall has developed into a proposal. We are sad to hear of a concern that the proposed community hall may not be viable. We have not received any evidence to support this claim.

“The Council is keen to invest in the development of a vibrant and successful community hall, one that brings benefit to the local community and that works now and into the future.”