A ROMSEY councillor has thrown his support behind plans for a new Crosfield Hall.

Cllr Mark Cooper, who has been a councillor since 1986, said that the current hall is 'in dire need of replacement'.

Cllr Cooper said: “The Crosfield Hall is undoubtedly a popular venue and its location in the middle of a car park is convenient and makes it easy to access.

“At present there is a considerable area in the town centre that is either inefficiently used or simply under-utilised and it is this area which is defined as 'South of the Town Centre'. The SoTC area includes the TVBC surface car park and the bus station and the Crosfield surface car park which surrounds the Crosfield Hall. 

Daily Echo: Crosfield Hall, inset: Cllr Mark CooperCrosfield Hall, inset: Cllr Mark Cooper (Image: Newsquest)

“The broad concept produced by Romsey Future thus involves building on part of the bus station car park effectively linking the Dukes Mill area with The Hundred, whilst re-configuring and keeping the bus station itself. The displaced parking needs to go somewhere and a two or three decked car-park (with ‘green walls’ ie vegetation cascading down the external elevations) located on the Crosfield site is the rational and logical solution. 

“The Crosfield Hall is in dire need of replacement. I’ve used the Crosfield for 47 years. And since Duttons Road TVBC offices closed all TVBC’s Romsey’s meetings have been held at Crosfield. They’re not a good experience. 

"The main hall is too big for planning meetings and it’s a real bind for staff to set up for council meetings.

"The heating is inefficient, problematic and expensive with very poor building insulation; the acoustics are awful; the loos are antediluvian; the small meeting rooms are too small and the stage mainly abandoned and under-used ever since RAODS decamped to the Plaza many years ago.

“Let’s also dispel this idea that as a ‘gift to the town’ the Crosfield Hall should be left alone.

"The £5,800 the philanthropist, Mr J. J. Crosfield, donated in 1936 was meant to have been for a new town hall which the town councillors of the day rejected.

"So they built a theatre/dance venue instead. I have an emotional attachment to the old hall; my father used to speak fondly of cycling up from Southampton in the late 30s to attend the weekend hops but that's the only positive thing I have to say about it. 

“The building, by the way, was designed and built in just six months which says all there is to say about the quality of construction.

“There is also a modern myth that the current users walk to the Crosfield Hall. Very few do. More than 85 per cent come by car according to TVBC - even to daytime events.

“The new Crosfield will be built before a single brick on the old site is touched. TVBC’s consultants have researched the user group needs thoroughly and what is envisioned is a purpose built community focus with a great deal of spatial flexibility and for those that wish to walk it will be about 300 yards further than the current hall.

"There is comment made that it will be an out-of-town location."