Council set to demolish Druitt building in Christchurch

DISAPPOINTED: David O’Sullivan and campaigners at Druitt Hall

SEEKING LEGAL ADVICE: Dr Alistair Somerville Ford

First published in News by

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.”

Comments (11)

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7:11pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Turtlebay says...

I have an even better idea, let's club together and pay demolition contractors to knock down the council offices. Sack the councillors.
I have an even better idea, let's club together and pay demolition contractors to knock down the council offices. Sack the councillors. Turtlebay
  • Score: 0

7:23pm Fri 23 Nov 12

paul.p says...

I said before they don't want people stepping on their toes, you did and this is the councils response.

The only way around this particular problem is that you win an appeal and I jolly well hope you do.

I'd also like to see the planners throw out the councils idea that it doesn't do as much as the Hall does in terms of giving back to the 'Community',
I said before they don't want people stepping on their toes, you did and this is the councils response. The only way around this particular problem is that you win an appeal and I jolly well hope you do. I'd also like to see the planners throw out the councils idea that it doesn't do as much as the Hall does in terms of giving back to the 'Community', paul.p
  • Score: 0

11:05pm Fri 23 Nov 12

xchresident says...

The two planning applications by CBC call for the demolition of Druitt Hall and to replace it with " paths planting seating and other features to improve the garden entrance. "

The basis of this is Hilary Martin's Masterplan Report, which began, significantly, with the note "The north corner of the gardens is the site for the recently approved new Druitt Community Centre. ..Close by is the existing Druitt Hall, a small community facility intended for demolition ONCE THE NEW COMMUNITY CENTRE DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN COMPLETED." It goes on to say "the site of Druitt Hall is the prefect location for a large piece of public art which announces the gardens from outside the site. The piece would have to be at least 5m high to reach views from the High Street and themed on the character and “feel” of Druitt Gardens." (!!!)

The latest moves by the Council show their determination to get rid of this Hall. And the application for demolition exactly coincides with the deletion of 'community facility' from the Core Strategy--casting a doubt over any future hall.

We have to ask ourselves why our elected Councillors are so keen to relieve the people of Christchurch of the possibility of a town centre community hall. So what exactly IS their Masterplan?
The two planning applications by CBC call for the demolition of Druitt Hall and to replace it with " paths planting seating and other features to improve the garden entrance. " The basis of this is Hilary Martin's Masterplan Report, which began, significantly, with the note "The north corner of the gardens is the site for the recently approved new Druitt Community Centre. ..Close by is the existing Druitt Hall, a small community facility intended for demolition ONCE THE NEW COMMUNITY CENTRE DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN COMPLETED." It goes on to say "the site of Druitt Hall is the prefect location for a large piece of public art which announces the gardens from outside the site. The piece would have to be at least 5m high to reach views from the High Street and themed on the character and “feel” of Druitt Gardens." (!!!) The latest moves by the Council show their determination to get rid of this Hall. And the application for demolition exactly coincides with the deletion of 'community facility' from the Core Strategy--casting a doubt over any future hall. We have to ask ourselves why our elected Councillors are so keen to relieve the people of Christchurch of the possibility of a town centre community hall. So what exactly IS their Masterplan? xchresident
  • Score: 0

1:07am Sat 24 Nov 12

SurfReefFunTime says...

Who actually uses this run down shack in the town anyway?

It certainly would be better to open up druitt gardens!
Who actually uses this run down shack in the town anyway? It certainly would be better to open up druitt gardens! SurfReefFunTime
  • Score: 0

7:43am Sat 24 Nov 12

Crank says...

It is actually adopted Council policy, after public consultation and a very long committee process involving community and council representatives, to do exactly what the Council says it has no need to/doesn't want to do, now.
Druitt Hall is very useful - not only central but cheap to hire, and well-used. The Planning Brief to replace it took into account its need for being updated, with a brilliantly designed new hall for which the public responded to the tune of about £20.000 in personal donations. So, it's a bit hard to say it isn't wanted or needed. Bit hard? Sorry: I meant disingenuous. Disingenuous? That's a polite word for lying. On top of that, to turn down the offer of a benefactor - a rare commodity - to fund the scheme - is inexplicable ( = madness). So, in other words, this decision is neither valid nor sane. Come on, councillors, work with, not against, your electorate.
It is actually adopted Council policy, after public consultation and a very long committee process involving community and council representatives, to do exactly what the Council says it has no need to/doesn't want to do, now. Druitt Hall is very useful - not only central but cheap to hire, and well-used. The Planning Brief to replace it took into account its need for being updated, with a brilliantly designed new hall for which the public responded to the tune of about £20.000 in personal donations. So, it's a bit hard to say it isn't wanted or needed. Bit hard? Sorry: I meant disingenuous. Disingenuous? That's a polite word for lying. On top of that, to turn down the offer of a benefactor - a rare commodity - to fund the scheme - is inexplicable ( = madness). So, in other words, this decision is neither valid nor sane. Come on, councillors, work with, not against, your electorate. Crank
  • Score: 0

7:59am Sat 24 Nov 12

damnlion says...

A 'gathering place' and a sculpture ? !!
Yes, that's just what residents want !!
This latest idea from the council just shows how out of touch they are with the people who VOTED for them...They ARE NOT representing residents wishes at all, what we want, and Mr Ford is willing to pay for-at no expense to the council- is A TOWN CENTRE COMMUNITY HALL. How arrogant of them to suggest it is not needed.
Who is going to pay for the sculpture ? Who decides what it is ? On past council performance it'll be hideous ! In this time of recession should they not be spending the money on something useful ? Not flittering money to inflate a councillor's ego ?
Who, I wonder, is going to 'gather' in this space......
A 'gathering place' and a sculpture ? !! Yes, that's just what residents want !! This latest idea from the council just shows how out of touch they are with the people who VOTED for them...They ARE NOT representing residents wishes at all, what we want, and Mr Ford is willing to pay for-at no expense to the council- is A TOWN CENTRE COMMUNITY HALL. How arrogant of them to suggest it is not needed. Who is going to pay for the sculpture ? Who decides what it is ? On past council performance it'll be hideous ! In this time of recession should they not be spending the money on something useful ? Not flittering money to inflate a councillor's ego ? Who, I wonder, is going to 'gather' in this space...... damnlion
  • Score: 0

8:47am Sat 24 Nov 12

Crank says...

The Planning Brief agreed a sculpture of Herbert Druitt. Long overdue recognition but he'd be staring down at his wrecked former wildlife ex-woodland.
I don't think either the councillors and officers can simply pluck from open air a statement a new hall is 'not needed'. No sign of a survey to back this up.
The Planning Brief agreed a sculpture of Herbert Druitt. Long overdue recognition but he'd be staring down at his wrecked former wildlife ex-woodland. I don't think either the councillors and officers can simply pluck from open air a statement a new hall is 'not needed'. No sign of a survey to back this up. Crank
  • Score: 0

9:40am Sat 24 Nov 12

Niki1 says...

SurfReefFunTime wrote:
Who actually uses this run down shack in the town anyway?

It certainly would be better to open up druitt gardens!
My husband uses this hall every Thursday night and has done for the last two years. We now have to try and find somewhere they can use in a central location (which is not proving to be easy). It is also used by various elderly groups on a regular basis. It will be a real shame to see this building go.
[quote][p][bold]SurfReefFunTime[/bold] wrote: Who actually uses this run down shack in the town anyway? It certainly would be better to open up druitt gardens![/p][/quote]My husband uses this hall every Thursday night and has done for the last two years. We now have to try and find somewhere they can use in a central location (which is not proving to be easy). It is also used by various elderly groups on a regular basis. It will be a real shame to see this building go. Niki1
  • Score: 0

10:34am Sat 24 Nov 12

whataboutthat says...

This horrible building's life is up. It's hideous, covered in moss and lichen, cranky old metal windows, asbestos roof - and heaven knows what the walls are made of - it's actually a health risk to all. It wouldn't be out of place in an old war film. Quite agree with the council that redeveloping the whole backside of Christchurch High Street/Druitt gardens will improve the outdoor facilities of the town. I'd rather have a sandwich in the park than sit with all the pigeons in Saxon Square. Nifty place for visitors to let their children have a bit of a run around too. Come on forget defending the bad past - the building has no merit.
This horrible building's life is up. It's hideous, covered in moss and lichen, cranky old metal windows, asbestos roof - and heaven knows what the walls are made of - it's actually a health risk to all. It wouldn't be out of place in an old war film. Quite agree with the council that redeveloping the whole backside of Christchurch High Street/Druitt gardens will improve the outdoor facilities of the town. I'd rather have a sandwich in the park than sit with all the pigeons in Saxon Square. Nifty place for visitors to let their children have a bit of a run around too. Come on forget defending the bad past - the building has no merit. whataboutthat
  • Score: 0

11:11am Sat 24 Nov 12

Tom 'Boscombe' Jones says...

If its important to local people then look into the localism bill, it allows properties of community value, such as community centres and pubs shops etc, to be listed by an interested community group and when an asset is due to be sold or transferred then groups have a 6 month moratorium period in which to make a bid for the site, funding is available for a feasibility study or to go towards purchase of the site. The localism bill was given force of law on September 19th this year. It was brought in early by central government mainly to halt the hastening and cynical transfer of assets in advance of the bill that was happening all across the country.
If its important to local people then look into the localism bill, it allows properties of community value, such as community centres and pubs shops etc, to be listed by an interested community group and when an asset is due to be sold or transferred then groups have a 6 month moratorium period in which to make a bid for the site, funding is available for a feasibility study or to go towards purchase of the site. The localism bill was given force of law on September 19th this year. It was brought in early by central government mainly to halt the hastening and cynical transfer of assets in advance of the bill that was happening all across the country. Tom 'Boscombe' Jones
  • Score: 0

2:59pm Sat 24 Nov 12

wotdidusay? says...

What reason could the Council possibly have for refusing what their constituents are asking of them? It immediately makes their response rather at odds with their duties .
The council had agreed to a new hall, but also had the remit to maintain the Druitt building. It doesn't appear to have been maintained in the slightest, yet, despite that, it has been checked out and found to be sound, needing only some basic renovations, until a new one can be built. There are many people who use this building. It is on a level, so no need for lifts, stairs (which a number of users are unable to use)and is very popular, as the 2000+ signatures on the petition given to the Council indicate. So why is the Council really wanting to demolish it?
What reason could the Council possibly have for refusing what their constituents are asking of them? It immediately makes their response rather at odds with their duties . The council had agreed to a new hall, but also had the remit to maintain the Druitt building. It doesn't appear to have been maintained in the slightest, yet, despite that, it has been checked out and found to be sound, needing only some basic renovations, until a new one can be built. There are many people who use this building. It is on a level, so no need for lifts, stairs (which a number of users are unable to use)and is very popular, as the 2000+ signatures on the petition given to the Council indicate. So why is the Council really wanting to demolish it? wotdidusay?
  • Score: 0

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