CAMPAIGNERS in Christchurch are celebrating after a residents’ group was awarded the right to run Druitt Hall.

Members of the council’s resource committee unanimously approved a three-year lease to be offered to Christchurch Citizens’ Association (CCA) on Wednesday following a protracted effort to save it by locals.

The fight to save it started in November 2011 after the leader of Christchurch council, Cllr Ray Nottage, advocated its closure.

Nigel Cook, the group’s chairman, said he is delighted with the decision and is now keen to return the space to its former glory.

“CCA looks forward to making a success of the hall and we much appreciate offers of help from local businesses and anyone who can spare time to get the hall ready ahead of the September start date,” he added.

“We have got volunteers coming in from Waitrose to help refurbish the interior in July and after that we will be looking for support to re-do the exterior.

“Our objective is to find a balance between community groups and groups that will help support the running of the hall which will be more commercial.”

Nigel stressed that the group will need assistance from the people of Christchurch to make the changes but is confident there is an appetite in the town to make the hall work.

He said before the hall’s kitchen closed in 2003 it had served more than 650,000 meals in 49 years and wants it to once again become a hub for the town.

It has already been confirmed that the hall will host Rugby Tots – a national programme for children aged between two and seven playing ‘soft rugby’.

Nigel added that he hopes this is just the start and envisages pilates, yoga and zumba classes being hosted at the venue.

Nigel is inviting those who want to offer their support to the hall to contact him on 07778264868 or email