Fight to rebuild Druitt Hall ends in disappointment as campaigners refuse three-year lease

Bournemouth Echo: NO DEAL: The Druitt Hall Association  Ltd directors Nigel Cook, Elliot Marx, George Gregory and  Peter Fenning NO DEAL: The Druitt Hall Association Ltd directors Nigel Cook, Elliot Marx, George Gregory and Peter Fenning

A FIGHT to rebuild Druitt Hall in Christchurch has ended after community campaigners refused a controversial three-year lease from the council.

The group – Druitt Hall Association Ltd – was formed to save the much-loved community centre from demolition and members had been working with the council to provide a new hall.

Celebrations took place earlier this year when outline plans for a new community hall on the site were given the green light by councillors.

But the group were left disappointed when Christchurch council would only offer them a three-year lease at the site under a number of strict conditions.

Agreement over where a new hall would be sited was never finalised, despite council plans for a land swap being abandoned.

Frustrated, campaigners unsuccessfully lobbied not only the council but also Christchurch MP Chris Chope, about the decision.

DHAL had also visited a charity funding fair and concluded that with merely a three year lease normal charity sources seeking at least ten years security of tenure were unable to fund them.

At a meeting held earlier this week, the frustrated group announced there “was no prospect of completing their key ambition, to rebuild in the gardens”.

A statement from the directors Peter Fenning, George Gregory, Nigel Cook and Elliot Marx said: “Despite taking steps to comply with the conditions imposed by the council including registering a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and having sufficient funds to complete the refurbishment, the directors have reluctantly concluded that there is no prospect of completing their key ambition, to rebuild the hall in the gardens.

“We set out to build a new hall, we complied with requirements, there is only one site suitable and available and we can’t use it, we would be locking up charitable funds so we have said no to the three-year lease.

“If any other group want to take over they can.”

Neil Farmer, strategic director at Christchurch Borough Council, said: “We are sorry to hear that the Druitt Hall Association, whom we have been working closely with, have decided not to proceed with our offer of a three year lease for Druitt Hall. The future of Druitt Hall will now be reviewed prior to recommendations being made to the Resources Committee in January.”

Comments (12)

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10:14am Sun 15 Dec 13

Old Colonial says...

Neil Farmer, "The future of Druitt Hall will now be reviewed prior to recommendations being made to the Resources Committee in January.”

And the name of the luck developer is.................
Neil Farmer, "The future of Druitt Hall will now be reviewed prior to recommendations being made to the Resources Committee in January.” And the name of the luck developer is................. Old Colonial

10:21am Sun 15 Dec 13

paul.p says...

So the council got what they wanted then...smug gits.
So the council got what they wanted then...smug gits. paul.p

10:28am Sun 15 Dec 13

twynham says...

Smug gits they may be but they will all want re-electing next year.
Don't think I will have forgotten by then Mr Nottage!
Never thought I'd vote UKIP but if it helps gets rid of this undemocratic bunch, so be it!
Smug gits they may be but they will all want re-electing next year. Don't think I will have forgotten by then Mr Nottage! Never thought I'd vote UKIP but if it helps gets rid of this undemocratic bunch, so be it! twynham

12:31pm Sun 15 Dec 13

High Treason says...

Conned by a Conservative council. I have already written to my local MP telling him why I and several others I know will not be voting conservative again. The bigger problem is I know of many who are not voting at all due to the undemocratic way the country is run.
Conned by a Conservative council. I have already written to my local MP telling him why I and several others I know will not be voting conservative again. The bigger problem is I know of many who are not voting at all due to the undemocratic way the country is run. High Treason

12:41pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Afterhours says...

Really cannot understand this "fight" Drewitt hall is a smelly old shack! certainly not fit for any purpose....sorry folks you need to move on....there are plenty of other buildings to make use ....priory hall,library, lighthouse, British legion, conservative club, 2riversmeet, bowling club,regent centre. Come on guys think out the box
Really cannot understand this "fight" Drewitt hall is a smelly old shack! certainly not fit for any purpose....sorry folks you need to move on....there are plenty of other buildings to make use ....priory hall,library, lighthouse, British legion, conservative club, 2riversmeet, bowling club,regent centre. Come on guys think out the box Afterhours

3:21pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Somer88 says...

Afterhors misses the point - DH is centrally located for public transport providing a flat approach and a large flat area. Smelly, well after years of poor husbandry so would you be - hence the committment of more than £20,000 by a benefactor who not only considers it worth refurbishing (in the process providing training exercises for students) but is also prepared to fund a new hall. A 3 year lease and a recommendation by senior elected officials to prevent a new hall being built on the basis of wider strategic issues will deny many people the use of a hall on the ground which was given for use by the public. No of th eother venues provides a low cost and flexibiity of availability that DH does. If Afterhors was in a group or society that benefited fromn the use of this facility then a differnet attitude may prevail.
Afterhors misses the point - DH is centrally located for public transport providing a flat approach and a large flat area. Smelly, well after years of poor husbandry so would you be - hence the committment of more than £20,000 by a benefactor who not only considers it worth refurbishing (in the process providing training exercises for students) but is also prepared to fund a new hall. A 3 year lease and a recommendation by senior elected officials to prevent a new hall being built on the basis of wider strategic issues will deny many people the use of a hall on the ground which was given for use by the public. No of th eother venues provides a low cost and flexibiity of availability that DH does. If Afterhors was in a group or society that benefited fromn the use of this facility then a differnet attitude may prevail. Somer88

5:46pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Carolyn43 says...

Somer88 wrote:
Afterhors misses the point - DH is centrally located for public transport providing a flat approach and a large flat area. Smelly, well after years of poor husbandry so would you be - hence the committment of more than £20,000 by a benefactor who not only considers it worth refurbishing (in the process providing training exercises for students) but is also prepared to fund a new hall. A 3 year lease and a recommendation by senior elected officials to prevent a new hall being built on the basis of wider strategic issues will deny many people the use of a hall on the ground which was given for use by the public. No of th eother venues provides a low cost and flexibiity of availability that DH does. If Afterhors was in a group or society that benefited fromn the use of this facility then a differnet attitude may prevail.
That's the whole point - "wider strategic issues will deny many people the use of a hall on the ground which was given for use by the public."
........
Why do councils always try to take over or dictate what can be done with land that has been given for use by the public? The words "council-owned" really annoy me as well. "The council" is funded by the public - they own nothing; we, the people, do.
[quote][p][bold]Somer88[/bold] wrote: Afterhors misses the point - DH is centrally located for public transport providing a flat approach and a large flat area. Smelly, well after years of poor husbandry so would you be - hence the committment of more than £20,000 by a benefactor who not only considers it worth refurbishing (in the process providing training exercises for students) but is also prepared to fund a new hall. A 3 year lease and a recommendation by senior elected officials to prevent a new hall being built on the basis of wider strategic issues will deny many people the use of a hall on the ground which was given for use by the public. No of th eother venues provides a low cost and flexibiity of availability that DH does. If Afterhors was in a group or society that benefited fromn the use of this facility then a differnet attitude may prevail.[/p][/quote]That's the whole point - "wider strategic issues will deny many people the use of a hall on the ground which was given for use by the public." ........ Why do councils always try to take over or dictate what can be done with land that has been given for use by the public? The words "council-owned" really annoy me as well. "The council" is funded by the public - they own nothing; we, the people, do. Carolyn43

9:02pm Sun 15 Dec 13

FrogKiss says...

I do not know why the council is so anti Druitt Hall. The gardens and provision for a hall was gifted to The People by one benefactor. That has sadly fallen into a state a disrepair, which the council could ill afford to upkeep. Then another benefactor has agreed to fund the refurbishment and rebuilding of a new Druitt Hall in the gardens. But to only offer a three year lease is a disgrace. Who in there right minds would spend twenty grand on refurbishment with such a short timescale for potential use.
DHAL have worked tirelessly to retain a community hall in Central Christchurch., even getting outline permission for a wheelchair friendly new hall on the current ( and only available possible site). I do not know why this community group are being treated so differently from Mudeford Wood who also took over the running of a council facility.. But on a much longer lease.

With Priory Hall also being sold. This was the last centrally based , low cost community facility. So sad to read that they have been effectively forced to give up the fight.

The mayor will have to go to Southbourne to entertain the lonely elderly of Christchurch every year!
I do not know why the council is so anti Druitt Hall. The gardens and provision for a hall was gifted to The People by one benefactor. That has sadly fallen into a state a disrepair, which the council could ill afford to upkeep. Then another benefactor has agreed to fund the refurbishment and rebuilding of a new Druitt Hall in the gardens. But to only offer a three year lease is a disgrace. Who in there right minds would spend twenty grand on refurbishment with such a short timescale for potential use. DHAL have worked tirelessly to retain a community hall in Central Christchurch., even getting outline permission for a wheelchair friendly new hall on the current ( and only available possible site). I do not know why this community group are being treated so differently from Mudeford Wood who also took over the running of a council facility.. But on a much longer lease. With Priory Hall also being sold. This was the last centrally based , low cost community facility. So sad to read that they have been effectively forced to give up the fight. The mayor will have to go to Southbourne to entertain the lonely elderly of Christchurch every year! FrogKiss

11:00pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Crank says...

Our council must have a huge Underhand Tactics Department and special training in Crocodile Tears. Unfortunately, they have absolutely no training for, or interest in, running the town for their residents and paymasters.How proud a council should be to have this dedicated and imaginative group and its supporters, working to benefit the town, and the incredibly public-spirited benefactor who would have funded a new community hall. But Christchurch is a topsy-turvy place where the good people are made to seem like troublemakers, whilst the real troublemakers run the place!
Yes - get the Tories out, and get some good officers in. Officers who have even a modicum of public duty.
Our council must have a huge Underhand Tactics Department and special training in Crocodile Tears. Unfortunately, they have absolutely no training for, or interest in, running the town for their residents and paymasters.How proud a council should be to have this dedicated and imaginative group and its supporters, working to benefit the town, and the incredibly public-spirited benefactor who would have funded a new community hall. But Christchurch is a topsy-turvy place where the good people are made to seem like troublemakers, whilst the real troublemakers run the place! Yes - get the Tories out, and get some good officers in. Officers who have even a modicum of public duty. Crank

8:06am Mon 16 Dec 13

DUCKFEEDER says...

shot themselves in the foot then dear old council thinking you could get your grubby little hands on a new building in three years time for only 20grand
shot themselves in the foot then dear old council thinking you could get your grubby little hands on a new building in three years time for only 20grand DUCKFEEDER

1:31pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Burtongreenandpleasantland says...

BATTLE OF THE BLOG:
Generous benefactor 1, Nottage 0

BATTLE OF THE HALL:
Community of Christchurch 0, Nottage 1

BATTLE OF PUREWELL & STANPIT WARD:
Democracy 1, Nottage 0

I agree with Twynham. I never thought I'd vote UKIP but if the current Councillors haven't got the spine to stand up to Mac-the-Knife, then we need to vote people in that will.
BATTLE OF THE BLOG: Generous benefactor 1, Nottage 0 BATTLE OF THE HALL: Community of Christchurch 0, Nottage 1 BATTLE OF PUREWELL & STANPIT WARD: Democracy 1, Nottage 0 I agree with Twynham. I never thought I'd vote UKIP but if the current Councillors haven't got the spine to stand up to Mac-the-Knife, then we need to vote people in that will. Burtongreenandpleasantland

10:08pm Mon 16 Dec 13

xchresident says...

Check out Julian Clegg on Druitt Hall Friday 13 December:

http://www.bbc.co.uk
/programmes/p01lp63q

Listen again until Friday 20th.

Main story 7:10 am (move the sliding bar to about 39.5) for a 9 minute story. Reporter Tristam Pascoe attended a public meeting at the hall on the 11th December and spoke to members of the public , a councillor and a campaign spokesperson.
Further bulletins at 1:33.1 and 2:32.1. Then in the afternoon on Steve Harris Drive Time (move the sliding bar to about 1:27.0 for about 4 minutes)
Check out Julian Clegg on Druitt Hall Friday 13 December: http://www.bbc.co.uk /programmes/p01lp63q Listen again until Friday 20th. Main story 7:10 am (move the sliding bar to about 39.5) for a 9 minute story. Reporter Tristam Pascoe attended a public meeting at the hall on the 11th December and spoke to members of the public , a councillor and a campaign spokesperson. Further bulletins at 1:33.1 and 2:32.1. Then in the afternoon on Steve Harris Drive Time (move the sliding bar to about 1:27.0 for about 4 minutes) xchresident

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