WAR veterans who fought to save an important public building say they have accepted it will probably be knocked down after all.
Members of the Northwich branch of the Royal British Legion called on Vale Royal Borough Council to re-think plans to knock down the town's Memorial Hall and provide its facilities in a new, purpose-built cultural centre as part of the wide-ranging Northwich Vision project.
Legion members, who include former servicemen, their dependants and other residents, say the hall on Chester Way should be left standing as a memorial to Northwich's war victims.
But after Vale Royal Borough Council published its redeposit of the Local Plan, a document which details the council's housing plans, and which has earmarked the current memorial hall site for 65 homes, Legion members say they feel the move is inevitable.
Council bosses hope to have 50 of the properties completed before the decade is out, and will move the facilities the current hall offers into a purpose-built flagship cultural centre.
Reg Hardingham, treasurer of the Northwich branch, said: 'There is quite a strong feeling among some of the older members that the building was erected specifically for the purpose of being a memorial.
'Others have begun to feel that if the hall is a bit ancient and falling to pieces - they claim what they should be doing is looking to get the same use out of the new facility.
'I am still getting letters from the council saying it is looking into the viability of a new hall, but I suspect it is already 99% of the way down the line. What we would like to see is some recognition, to have some memorial aspect in the new hall. We could have at least a meeting room for use by ex-service organisations and, if not free, then at least heavily subsidised.'
The council claims the existing building adds little to the landscape of the town and, because of the nature of its construction, it is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain. As such, it is reaching the end of its economic life. It wants to redevelop the site with high quality residential development to enhance the area.
Bosses say the hall's commemorative plaque would be put up in the new cultural centre at an appropriate ceremony.