THEY may have won a battle to save Druitt Hall from demolition but campaigners now face another tussle after council chiefs insisted the facility will still close in March.

A spokesperson for Christchurch Borough Council confirmed the community hall will still close on March 31, despite controversial plans to demolish it and replace it with landscaping including seating and a sculpture, being turned down by the planning committee last week.

More than 1,000 people had signed a petition calling for the plans to be refused with around 200 people also writing letters of objection.

Councillors were told the Friends of Druitt Hall were also planning on submitting their own application for a replacement hall with local businessman Dr Alistair Somerville-Ford working on a business plan to financially support the new hall, as well as maintaining the existing structure.

The decision to close the hall was made at a resources committee meeting last year, but supporters had hoped the planning decision may change things.

The Friends of Druitt Hall have applied for the building to be nominated an asset of community value, with a report due to go before resources committee on Wednesday.

Elliot Marx, one of the Friends said: “We are disgusted at the statement that they are going to close the hall anyway.

“It will not go down well with the public either.

“The people of Christchurch have made it very clear they do not want this.

“The report to the committee on the asset of community value seems to be based on the fact the hall will be demolished. These plans have now been rejected.

“I would hope we can work with the council now on where we go from here.

“Work is already underway on our application and business plan.”

The council is unable to appeal its own planning application with members of the resources committee to be updated of recent developments regarding Druitt Hall before discussing the item at Wednesday’s meeting.