Plans to demolish Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club pavilion under fire

PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 February 2018

The Middle Pavilion at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club. Picture: Contributed.

The Middle Pavilion at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club. Picture: Contributed.

Archant

There’s been an outcry over the proposed demolition of an historic pavilion at Budleigh Salterton’s Croquet Club.

The Middle Pavilion at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club. Picture: Google Maps.The Middle Pavilion at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club. Picture: Google Maps.

The club says that the Middle Pavilion – built in 1890 – has become unsafe and is ‘beyond reasonable financial repair’.

It has lodged demolition plans with East Devon District Council (EDDC) and has asked the council whether prior approval will be needed to knock the building down.

In an accompanying letter, Alison Maddaford, the club’s chairman, said that following a surveyors’ report, the pavilion was deemed beyond economic repair and the decision to demolish was made on safety grounds.

She said that the building’s south side showed ‘bowing of guttering due to the weight of roof on the window frames in the absence of lintels – the heavy tiles and roof trusses resting on little more than the window frames’.

There was also ‘severe’ rot in many of the timber framed areas.

About two years ago, the club was advised not to place a ladder against the roof or attempt any repair, due to the roof’s likely collapse. The cost of new tiles was then quoted as £20,000.

In addition, the west side of the flat roof is leaking and the electricity has been disconnected due to safety concerns.

“The safety of our members is paramount,” said Alison.

“We have made a difficult decision to demolish, and rebuild on a smaller footprint to accommodate just the facilities we need.

“We will be seeking sponsorship for the new building and have good reason to believe some members will be willing to support the project.”

In a letter sent out to the club’s neighbours, the chairman said a questionnaire to members had shown ‘the majority wished to see a replacement building – similar in style to the main clubhouse (timber framed and with a tiled roof)’ and no nearer any housing’.

But the Journal has been contacted by concerned residents, saying they’re ‘horrified’ by the proposals.

In a letter to the newspaper, Jen Gray said that Budleigh’s heritage was ‘threatened again’.

Describing the Middle Pavilion as ‘probably one of the oldest anywhere in the world’, she said: “This heritage belongs to our town and not just to the croquet club.

A member of the club also contacted the Journal, saying that they were strongly against the planned demolition.

EDDC has yet to make a decision. The planned demolition date is February 19, with work expected to be completed by February 23.


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