Workers prepare to demolish hall
THE DEMOLITION of Bodmin's Foster Hall "makes a mockery" of localism and sustainability, the chairman of a leading county preservation group has said.
The Cornish Buildings Group (CBG) has spoken out as contractors prepare the building for demolition.
Despite four attempts to get the Silvanus Trevail-designed building listed by English Heritage and even a mention in the House Of Lords, Foster Hall looks set to be wiped off the map in the coming weeks.
Paul Holden, chairman of the CBG, told the Cornish Guardian: "This is a death knell for sustainability; it could have been re-used for something else but it has been demolished because it has been deemed a nuisance," he said.
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"The Cornish Buildings Group and the Foster Hall Revival Trust have done as much as we can to save what we feel is a building worth saving.
"It is quite a rare type in Cornwall, of Edwardian-Baroque style.
"We tried to get it listed four times with English Heritage who were not interested, yet they were quite happy to list signal boxes in Cornwall."
He said that they had become increasingly frustrated at the authority's lack of interest in the former St Lawrence's Hospital site.
"You can bang your head against authority for so long; if it's going to go then that's it.
"It just makes a mockery of localism and sustainability; there was absolutely no consultation over this when we needed to have a voice in this process.
"We are quite pragmatic people and if it was demonstrated that the building didn't fit in with their plan then perhaps that could be argued, but there is no plan [for the site]."
The NHS Foundation Trust, which rents the building from Community 1st Cornwall, previously stated that the costs of renting and maintaining the buildings were around £400,000 a year and it was unable to use these buildings because of their configuration.
The lease agreement runs for a further 18 years. It concluded that these funds, if released, could be diverted into improving health services.