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Bockhanger Community Centre will be demolished

By Kristina Curtis

A run-down community centre will be demolished, council bosses have confirmed.

The 50-year-old Bockhanger Community Centre in Kennington will be replaced with either turf or hardstanding until a decision about its redevelopment is made.

It will cost Ashford Borough Council (ABC) £150,000 to demolish the site, which is home to Bockhanger library.

Bockhanger Community Centre will be demolished
Bockhanger Community Centre will be demolished

The decision was finalised at an ABC cabinet meeting last Thursday.

Cllr Graham Galpin, portfolio holder for corporate property, said: “Demolition of the facility is the sensible option given the considerable expense of rebuilding the hall, the closeness of other community facilities in the vicinity and the limited use the hall has been put to in recent years.

“The council will also oversee the cleaning and minor upgrading of the shop exteriors in Bockhanger square.

The library will have to find a new home
The library will have to find a new home

“The demolition won’t take place before November as we are working with the library to help them relocate.

“We have had some public consultations, including sessions in the hall recently, but we received very little feedback.”

The hall’s library is expected to be replaced by a mobile service.

The centre - which closed at the end of March - was built in the 1960s and houses a Kent County Council library and a hall.

It has been used as a nursery and for private birthday and wedding celebrations, as well as a polling station during elections. Since 2003 it has been leased to the Bockhanger Community Association Trust by ABC.

Trust members said they were sad to see it go, but understood it had reached the end of its useful life. In a report prepared for last week’s cabinet meeting, council officials said “there was no other alternative than to close it”.

The report said: “The alternative would be for the community hall to continue to operate. “However, to make this possible it would need a basic refurbishment which would, together with repair costs to bring the building up to a very basic standard, be substantial.”

The building will now be boarded up to protect it from vandalism and break-ins.

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