THE district auditor has been asked to intervene in the row over the imminent demolition of a Bournemouth art centre.
Campaigners fighting to save the Boscombe Centre for Community Arts (BCCA) have asked district auditor Simon Garlick to investigate the circumstances surrounding the planning decision to replace the BCCA with 11 family homes and a creative hub.
Demolition work is due to start imminently, although the council has not confirmed an exact start date.
Campaign leader Linda Ni’Man said they believed the planning board was “misled” by an “inaccurate” officer’s report. They claim the report cited 19 comparable facilities in Boscombe as evidence that there was no need to retain the entire BCCA building.
However, protesters say the facilities quoted were not ‘like for like’ facilities and should not have been compared against the BCCA.
Mrs Ni’Man said: “Full details of the background facts are being supplied.
“It is vital this centre be saved – not just for its heritage value – but also because it can bring much-needed tourist revenue and jobs into the most deprived area in the south.
“There is enormous community concern about this issue, which has largely been ignored by the council.”
Protesters previously applied for a judicial review of the decision but Judge Justice Sales ruled they were “hopelessly out of time” and had not provided good reasons for extending the time limit. He concluded the case was “totally without merit.”
Cllr John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth council, said: “The development of family housing and a creative hub will do a great deal to regenerate the local area.
“The development would give first time buyers the chance to own their own home at an affordable price and would offer additional facilities to benefit the whole community in Boscombe.”