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Friends fight to save BCCA from demolition
CAMPAIGNERS hoping to save their local community centre from part-demolition have begun legal proceedings against Bournemouth Council.
The Friends of the Bournemouth Centre for Community Arts (BCCA) are challenging the council’s recent decision to refuse the building ‘community asset’ status under the Localism Act, as well as the demolition itself, which was approved last year.
Linda Ni’Man, of the Friends, said the group’s solicitor has sent the council’s legal department a pre-action letter detailing the grounds for their challenge.
“There is a great need for a space like the BCCA in Boscombe, there are lots of people looking to come here and set up creative and digital businesses,” she said.
“And the three rooms the council is proposing to leave are hardly going to cut it.
“This is a heritage asset in a great location, and we have come up with a plan which will increase tourism and jobs in Boscombe and help regenerate the area.
“The council hasn’t consulted with residents. We have and we got a very positive response to our plans.”
The council acknowledged receipt of the Friends’ letter and said its contents were being considered.
It plans to demolish all but three of the centre’s 22 rooms, and to build 11 affordable homes on the site, which will be controlled by the Bournemouth 2026 Trust and sold to families.
No date has been set for the demolition, but on Tuesday the council’s cabinet voted to grant £207,000 towards a European Union project which will see the three preserved rooms adapted for use by creative businesses.
The £415,000 Recreate project also promises to establish pop-up studios and exhibition spaces in empty units, support services for new businesses, and to develop international connections.
Boscombe West councillor Jane Kelly said a survey has been launched to identify community facilities in Boscombe and which services aren’t provided.
“No one knows at the moment if there is a need for new facilities or not,” she added.
“But we have funds in place to develop this creative industries hub, and the 11 affordable homes which will help us get young home-owning families into the area.”