Plans to build a £3 million community centre in Wallingford have been put on hold due to the pandemic.

Wallingford Town Council has been looking for a way to replace the Regal Centre since it was closed in September 2017.

In October 2019, the council drew up plans for a new centre on the same site, to replace the former cinema which was used to house community activities, a food market and the blues and beer festival.

However, these plans are now considered to be ‘unaffordable’ for the council and the coronavirus pandemic has caused further plans to be put on hold.

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Wallingford Mayor Lee Upcraft said: “Things have been put on hold because of Covid. We got to a point where plans had progressed, but it was clear they were unaffordable.”

Last year councillors asked the public for their opinions on a ‘new Regal Centre’, and the feedback showed a demand for a large community centre for big events.

However, with many large events unable to go ahead it is unclear if the original plans for the Regal Centre will still be viable for the future.

Mr Upcraft said: “How long do we assume we will live with Covid for? If it is a short term thing then we can go back to having large scale community events.

"If this is the beginning of something which lasts for years then we probably can’t afford a building which makes its money from having big events.

"As much as I dislike it, we really do need to take our time and make sure the plans we come up with are still viable.”

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Mr Upcraft explained that Wallingford Town Council has ‘a lot on its plate’.

The council recently confirmed that it will be moving offices and converting them into flats as a means of raising some money to invest in various projects.

The Regal Centre is just one regeneration project from a list which will cost the council millions.

Mr Upcraft said the council plans to spend at least £1 million on the Town Hall and another million on the Abbey ruins in the castle gardens.

Facilities in the Bullcroft are set to be regenerated, the new pavilion and children’s play area will cost the council £2 million.

Plans to build a new Regal Centre have not been forgotten, but the plans need to be adapted.