CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish Druitt Hall in Christchurch – despite the protestations of people in the town – have been submitted.
Owners Christchurch Bor-ough Council has submitted a planning application to its own department detailing demolition proposals as well as plans to create an area of landscaping to reinstate the land as part of Druitt Gardens.
If approved, it is anticipated the hall will be demolished soon after its closure at the end of March 2013.
The scheme will see the land converted into community space to improve the pedestrian link between Druitt Gardens and the High Street.
In place of the hall, the council plan to install a “gathering space” including seating and a sculpture.
The Friends of Druitt Hall have fought a hard campaign to save the community centre, even finding a local benefactor, Dr Alistair Somerville Ford, to fund a new hall to the tune of £1.5million and keep the old one going.
But the generous offer was dismissed by the council, who say there is no need for a new community facility in the town centre.
Dr Ford, who is seeking legal advice regarding the council’s handling of the Druitt Hall saga, said he will be objecting to the demolition.
David O’Sullivan, chairman of the Friends of Druitt hall said: “We don’t want to go to war with the council.
“We’ve only ever wanted to work with them.
“But this is really bad news. We were hoping to keep the hall going as long as possible until a new one could be built but this just speaks of their blind determination to see that hall destroyed.
“It beggars belief that they think a sculpture and a seating area replaces a really valuable community asset that people are reliant upon.
“And now, given that someone is offering to pay for the hall, it is really short sighted.
“All the groups that meet there will be broken up.
“The council should be promoting community, not tearing down valuable facilities.
“The old hall is still serviceable.
“This is a huge blow to all the groups that use it.”