A CHRISTCHURCH residents’ group is appealing for the council to give some kind of assurance over the future of Druitt Hall.

Christchurch Citizens Association (CCA) has asked Christchurch council for permission to run Druitt Hall and make repairs inside and out.

However, despite represen-tatives handing over written confirmation of £25,000 to refurbish the hall, the council says the takeover will not be possible.

Previous attempts by the Druitt Hall Association to provide a new hall on the site failed due to wrangling about where a new facility would be built.

Nigel Cook from the CCA, which has the support of the Association of Christchurch Residents Associations (ACRA) said: “They have repeatedly insisted that hundreds of thousands of pounds of funding must be in place as a guarantee for a new hall in the town centre before the council will agree to where a hall can be built.

“This is impossible as Judy Jamieson pleaded for land in Burton, before she could apply for a grant for a new village hall which makes the council’s insistence look very foolish.

“The Citizens Association has made this point to the council many times, but the council keeps blocking the CCA offers.”

He added: “The CCA is a very well organised group of local volunteers that are offering to run the existing hall and a new hall free of charge for the benefit of the community.”

Mr Cook said the 2012 Localism Act encouraged groups to put in applications such as this to run local facilities.

The council’s response

Neil Farmer, strategic director at Christchurch council, said: “The council is committed to undertaking its review of the Christchurch Town Centre Strategy.
“The future appropriate provision and siting of community facilities to meet the needs of the town going forward will form a part of that review. The process will be open to consultation.
“Until the further outcomes of the Town Centre Strategy have been determined the council will continue to make Druitt Hall available for public use.
“The council remains at this time in communication with a number of interested parties over the operation of the hall.”