Campaigners hope to save community house from bulldozers

CAMPAIGN: Mary Cartwright (front) with other protesters who gathered outside the former White House Community Centre in Eden Lane, Peterlee.
CAMPAIGN: Mary Cartwright (front) with other protesters who gathered outside the former White House Community Centre in Eden Lane, Peterlee.
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RESIDENTS held a demonstration in a bid to block the demolition of a historic building.

A peaceful protest was held as part of efforts to stop the bulldozing of the former White House community building.

It has stood in Eden Lane, Peterlee, since 1890, was owned by wealthy merchant banker Rowland Burdon and has been used by various community groups over the years.

Campaigners say they are angry that there was no consultation over the demolition plans.

An application was lodged on Durham County Council’s website that said demolition was due to take place on Monday and protestors gathered.

But the demolition is scheduled for in the next six to eight weeks, leading the way for a campaign to be established to try to save the building.

Mary Cartwright, who is fronting the campaign, said: “Everyone we spoke to says they weren’t made aware of the demolition plans. People were here in their youth, it’s part of the community.”

Peterlee town councillor Andrew Watson said: “My concern is the way it has been done by Durham County Council, they said it didn’t need to go to the planning committee.”

Stuart Timmiss, head of planning and assets at the county council, said: “Based on the costs associated with repairing the building, the fact that it has been empty with no interest shown from prospective purchasers and increasing levels of vandalism and anti-social behaviour it was decided that demolition was the most appropriate course of action. This decision, to declare the land surplus to requirements, was made in 2010.

“The demolition work is not due to begin for several weeks and our intention was always to let the community know before the work started. Once the work is complete the site will be made available for sale.”

A petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/halt-the-demolition-of-the-white-house-peterlee has more than 500 signatures.

To join anti-demolition campaign call Mary on 07776 465222.