A popular snooker club which battled eviction has closed after 35 years.
The Hurricane Room at the former Regal cinema in Beech Hall Road, Highams Park, had 3,000 members, but has been forced to shut its doors as the building’s owner prepares to redevelop the site.
Club owner Adrian Bullock, 48, was served an eviction notice three months ago by landowner Ricky Gardezi, managing director of Total Security Services (TSS), who plans to turn the locally-listed building into his company's headquarters.
Chingford MP Iain Duncan-Smith intervened and called for the club to be granted a stay of execution, describing the forced closure as a "great loss for the community".
But the Guardian understands Mr Gardezi rejected a meeting request from Mr Duncan Smith.
The part of the building occupied by the club will now remain empty for the foreseeable future as a planning application is yet to be submitted.
A decision is still pending on the proposed demolition of the adjacent, derelict former Shelz restaurant to build four-storey offices.
Describing his disappointment at the closure, Mr Bullock said: "Time was of the essence and we ran out of time.
"I never thought I would be there forever, but I never thought it would close down.
"The club could have been saved, but there was no willingness from Ricky.
"It is devastating for the users. The family spirit has been lost and community will be far worse off."
He said emotions were running high when the last night arrived.
"It was very emotional and staff and customers were trying not to come to tears. Sunday was a sad and tough day,” he added.
"After speaking to many of the older members, many of them said they would not play anymore because Walthamstow and Enfield do not offer what they want.
"The club had such a bright, potential future with lots of youngsters wanting to join, but we had to turn them away."
Jeweller by trade and decade-long member Devon Martin, 52, travelled down from Hackney because the 'vibe was so good'.
"It was a recreational place where people from all walks of life came together to play a game of snooker and socialise.
"I heard it was closing five weeks but it felt like it happened within a blink of an eye and has left a big vacuum in the community.
"It was a communal place for so many people but I know ninety-five per cent of the people I met, I will never see again."