Vandalised centre to be demolished

Vandalised centre to be demolished

19 December 2012

DOWN Council is to bulldoze the Killough Road community centre in Downpatrick.

The building has been repeatedly targeted by arsonists and vandals with the most recent arson attack taking place just a few weeks ago.

The council-owned building closed in 2010 and has been lying empty and unused ever since. Now council officials want to bulldoze it.

It was confirmed at the local authority’s meeting on Monday night that ratepayers have had 

to meet the cost of securing the former community centre on a number of occasions since it closed after it was targeted by vandals.

Metal grilles placed around the building to protect windows have been stolen and thieves have also made off with a number of internal doors.

It emerged on Monday night that the Killough Road building was targeted by arsonists on three separate occasions in the run-up to Halloween and that the PSNI and Fire Service have expressed concern about the building’s vulnerability.

The cost of demolishing the former community centre is estimated at £23,000 which includes the removal and disposal of asbestos and an air clearance test.

The Planning Service has confirmed that permission is not required to demolish the building and it is being suggested that social housing could be provided at this part of the town.

Councillor Liam Johnston said it is important the former community centre is demolished as it has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

“This is something the people who live nearby should not have to put up with,” he said. “The building has been repeatedly targeted and it’s time for it to come down.

“Since it was vacated, this building has attracted thieves and arsonists and it’s best for all concerned that it is removed. The sooner the better.”

Councillor Johnston said he and many others believe it is only a matter of time before the Killough Road centre is targeted again.

He added: “My biggest fear is that something serious is going to happen and someone could get seriously injured while playing about in this building. “The consequences of someone getting trapped in the building if its targeted by arsonists are too horrific to contemplate. It must be demolished as soon as is practically possible.”