CAMPAIGNERS were stunned to discover a landmark town hall they were desperate to save will be bulldozed for a £1 million roundabout.
Greasbrough Public Hall Community Trust was formed by concerned residents when Rotherham Borough Council invited groups to take over the building.
But less than six months later the council has confirmed it will not transfer the centre and, instead, wants to clear the site for new traffic measures.
Trust chairman Graham Hobson said: “This group has worked incredibly hard because this is the village’s iconic hall.
“We’ve had two top-level meetings with the council, including the chief executive and chief planners. But now it’s all fallen on deaf ears.
“We were being asked if we wanted to take over the hall, but then they changed their minds and said they needed to knock it down for a traffic congestion project.”
The hall was built in 1925 from £7,000 public subscriptions and has been used as a doctors’ surgery and library and has hosted scouts, guides, dances and parties.
Trust member Ann Lilley said: “The hall’s been used for as long as I can remember. It’s only in the last few years it’s been left to rack and ruin.
“The traffic problem is not this roundabout. Anyone will tell you that and it doesn’t matter how many lanes they add.
“The trouble is at Church Street and at the bottom of The Whins. So people will see the hall gone but the traffic congestion still there. They will be livid.”
There were four expressions of interest after the council invited ideas last October, including for flats, a children’s nursery and one where the building would have been shared by the trust and Rotherham Military Community Veterans’ Centre.
Trust treasurer Linda Holland said the group’s research and business case had demonstrated the demand for a community hub in Greasbrough.
“The actual emotional attachment to that building is huge,” she added.
“People told us they wouldn’t be here if not for the hall, because that’s where their mum and dad met.
“I’m frustrated with the lack of listening to the voice of the people. You would think the council would have learned from giving Bramley a traffic project residents didn’t want.
“But we have appreciated the support of our ward councillors. They have been fantastic.”
Conservative peer William Hague was also among those who called for the hall — closed by the council in 2014 — to be saved.
He said: “When it was a library I went there every week as a young boy to find the next history book I wanted to read. So my own work in government and in writing books began there in many ways.”
The proposed £1 million project will see a larger, signalled roundabout added a few yards further north than the present mini-roundabout.
The council said it was “unaware of the additional land required to deliver the highway scheme” when it asked for expressions of interest.
Regeneration director Damien Wilson added: “A number of options were considered to deal with both the current and future traffic demand, all of which identified a need for the land on which the hall resides.”
Anyone interested in being involved with the hall trust can email Graham on email@example.com.
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