King George VI hall to be demolished

St George's Hall in Killowen.
St George's Hall in Killowen.
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KILLOWEN’S King George VI Hall is to be demolished.

The decision was made at Tuesday’s meeting of Coleraine Council’s Policy and Development Committee.

In 2010, an appraisal began on the future of the hall which was built in the 1950s as a local community hall.

The hall originally provided facilities for older people and young people before falling into disrepair and disuse and being closed in the 1990s.

Moore Stephens were appointed to carry out an appraisal of the site as part of the Neighbourhood Renewal Action Plan for 2010/11.

They consulted widely with the local community, hand-delivering 1,100 questionnaires to homes in the area asking what local people would like to see done with the hall and what kind of activities should be included.

They received only 150 responses. A further mail drop was carried out and generated 318 responses.

Following analysis, a number of options was examined with the preferred two being - clear and make the site safe OR sell the site for social housing.

Presenting Moore Stephen’s findings to Council on Tuesday, Martin Kelly said that what was clear from the responses was the “passion for the site”.

He said that, whatever the decision on the future of the hall, there needed to be recognition on the site of the name King George VI - whether via naming the houses King George VI Mews if sold for social housing or erecting a plaque in the area if the site were to be cleared.

UUP councillor William McCandless said the hall had been a focal point in Killowen since the 1950s and its future was an “emotive subject”.

He said that many people attributed its decline to the transfer of ownership to Coleraine Council but, he added, this was not the time for blame.

Cllr McCandless said that the hall was dangerous and should be demolished but he proposed that the site should be left for a few years and then its future reviewed.

“And the name King George VI must be retained,” he added.

This was agreed by members and the decision will now go to full Council for ratification.