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Plans to rebuild community hall in East Boldre set to be approved by NPA despite objections from parish council

PLANS to rebuild a community hall in East Boldre which was destroyed in a fire are set to be approved by the national park authority – despite objections from parish councillors who said the site could be used for something more useful.

As reported in the A&T, Beaulieu Estates submitted like-for-like proposals to replace the old clubhouse at Strawberry Fields which was ravaged by the blaze, so it can once again be used by residents.

However, East Boldre Parish Council said that while it recommended permission be granted for the removal of the remains of the existing damaged building, it wanted the rebuilding of the structure to be refused for a rethink.

Fire crews spent the night tackling the blaze (Photo: Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service)
Fire crews spent the night tackling the blaze (Photo: Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service)

A statement from the council said: “The site presents a high health and safety risk and should be demolished as a matter of urgency.

“Originally a Royal British Legion building which fell into disuse, the village has other adequate provision for public meeting places and we seek further consultation on intended use of the site.”

The old timber-clad building was wrecked by flames which broke out in April 2021 and had to be tackled by 50 firefighters throughout the night.

What was left of the clubhouse remains in situ as the NPA has to give permission to the estate to clear it before work can be started on rebuilding a new one.

The new building would be in the same location as the previous one, the application said, with a similar design including timber cladding.

A report to the NPA’s planning committee, which meets on Tuesday 20th September, recommended permission be granted.

It added: “The proposed development seeks to reinstate a former community facility, which has been recently and accidentally destroyed.

“It has been demonstrated that it can be accommodated on the site without undue harm to the character and appearance of the area or neighbour amenity and the proposed removal of the existing structure from the national park landscape is welcomed.”

No other letters of support or objection were submitted.

Before it was destroyed, the clubhouse had also been used by a local motorcycle club for meetings.

The estate has said that the new clubhouse will “be used for the same purpose as previously, providing a community hall for local gatherings”.

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