Victorian Society urges Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club to re-think pavilion demolition
PUBLISHED: 06:55 18 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:41 18 February 2018
The Victorian Society has added its voice to calls to save a historic building in Budleigh Salterton.
The charity – which champions Victorian buildings in England and Wales – is urging Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club to reconsider demolishing its Middle Pavilion, built in 1890.
The Journal has also received letters, decrying the club’s decision.
A society spokesperson said: “The survey found structural flaws in the 19th-century pavilion, but the club’s management committee has reportedly declined the offer of a second expert opinion, insisting it would be impossible to get realistic estimates to repair it.
“The loss of this heritage asset should be treated as a last resort, and members of local and heritage communities are urging the club to reconsider restoration.”
Tom Taylor, the society’s conservation adviser, added: “It’s not too late for the club to conserve this piece of sporting heritage.
“It just needs vision and resolve to redirect funds from demolition to renovation.
“The pavilion that’s served players for the last 127 years could then continue to do so for years to come.”
But Budleigh Town Council (BTC) has unanimously supported a demolition application, lodged with East Devon District Council (EDDC), saying the building is unsafe.
The club’s chairman has also stressed safety as a key reason behind demolition.
And if EDDC approves the application, work could begin as early as February 19.
Last year, the club instructed a surveyor to inspect the building. The surveyor said the pavilion had ‘significant’ defects, and recommended demolition and replacement.
The club lodged demolition plans with EDDC, saying the pavilion was unsafe, ‘beyond reasonable financial repair’, and asking if it needed prior approval.
At a planning meeting on Monday, BTC supported the demolition.
Councillors said the building could easily come down in inclement weather.
Club chairman Alison Maddaford said: “This has been a long process with many consultations.
“We’re aware of a handful of members who are unwilling to accept the democratic process or the findings of the independent survey, but we’re also aware of circa 170 voting members, and the support of many non-voting members, who understand our decisions to keep members safe.”