King George VI Hall is demolished: what next?

A COMMUNITY hall which was once a focal point for the Killowen area has been demolished.

The King George VI Hall was bulldozed at the start of the year by Belfast developer McCusker.

Back in May last year, Coleraine Borough Council agreed to clear the site and make it safe. However, many councillors argued that the area should be re-developed into social housing or a community space.

Many in the area will remember the hall for providing facilities for youngsters and senior citizens from the early 1950s.

However it was closed in the 1990s after falling into disrepair.

A meeting of Coleraine Borough Council last year heard that there was a “real passion” for the site following analysis of results from a community consultation as part of the Neighbourhood Renewal Action Plan.

Coleraine Borough Council say that no decision on the future of the site has been made and that they are working with the community on a way forward.

Independent MLA and Coleraine councillor David McClarty says that the hall was a central part of the Killowen area.

“This hall was used by both old and young in the Killowen area.

People with learning difficulties used to enjoy a craft club in the hall and a senior citizens club met there for many years, however after it was closed it fell into serious disrepair.

“There was a suggestion that the site could be made into a community garden, however this was rejected by older residents who felt that it might become a space for people to loiter.

“Development is very much welcomed if the right option presents itself.

“The area is well provided for by the Bertie Peacock Building and the Coleraine West Community Centre so another community facility would not be cost effective.

“However, it is important that the community get their say in what will happen at the site in the future, and they can do that either by getting in contact with me, any of the other elected representatives or the Council.”

UUP councillor William McCandless added: “ A decision will be made in two years time. I can assure the public that no decision has been made about the site.

“I know that the local community group - Killowen and Churlands, have been asked to think about viable options.

“No funding is available at present but who knows what may become available in time,” said the councillor.

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