CAMPAIGNERS in Victorian dress held a mock funeral march to highlight their anger at the impending demolition of Boscombe’s BCCA building.
The Bournemouth Centre for Community Arts building in Haviland Road will be knocked down to make way for 11 homes and a new “creative hub”, which protesters say will be inadequate.
Some 40 of those opposed to the plans marched through the precinct from Chaplain’s bar in Christchurch Road to the BCCA for its funeral service, all dressed in Victorian clothing to highlight the partially-listed building’s history.
Linda Ni’man, of the Friends of the BCCA, which organised the event, said: “It ironic that our route took us past the tents where the Great Exhibition of Boscombe events were taking place in the precinct.
“If Boscombe apparently already has art venues, why did this event have to be held outside in the rain and in shop windows?
“This area has been degenerated, courtesy of the council, and it is great to see all the people who have turned out to register their support for the BCCA.”
She denied that the march was a futile gesture. “There is always hope that the councillors might change their minds,” she said.
“And we won’t stop until the last brick falls.
“This building was granted to the people of Boscombe by Sir Percy Florence Shelley, and others, and it was granted ‘forever’.”
Among those taking part was Paul Tucker, 49, from Pokesdown. He said: “It is a travesty knocking down the arts centre. There is nothing for young people to do around here.
“The council keep knocking down community buildings. One day we will stop them.”
Bournemouth council says the Gladstone Mews development, which will also include a community orchard and allotments, will provide much-needed affordable housing in Boscombe.
The scheme should be complete by next summer, when the ownership of the site will transfer to the Bournemouth 2026 Trust.