The demolition of Festival Hall paves the way for a new car park for the leisure center in Kirkby

Ashfield Council says demolition work on Festival Hall is underway, with many materials being recycled.

The new car park on Hodgkinson Road will be for the adjacent Kirkby Leisure Center – which has replaced Festival Hall – and will have spaces for 95 cars, 10 bike hoops and lockable bike storage.

Work on the car park should be completed in the spring of 2023.

The demolition of the hall is in progress.

Robert Docherty, council manager for venue and communities, said: ‘Work to create the new car park at Kirkby Leisure Center will mark the completion of this superb facility.’

The village hall opened in the 1930s, but a public consultation in August 2016 on the future of the city’s leisure services resulted in a “strong message of public support for investment in new facilities sports and recreation.

Work on the new Kirkby Leisure Center began in December 2020 and it opened in August 2022 as part of the council’s £15.5million investment to transform the leisure facilities.

The main element of the demolition will take approximately 12 weeks and work will be carried out during normal hours of 8am and 6pm.

The party hall is being demolished.

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Andy Sollis, a resident of Sutton, said: “I have fond memories of this place over the years. I’ve attended Cub Scout awards ceremonies, remembrance festivals with air cadets, pantomime, birthday parties, and finally toy and train fairs with my own kids.

“It has served the community well. It will be sad to see it accompany the magnificent painting on the back wall. It’s a shame this wasn’t incorporated into the new build rather than losing that history – especially when it’s still fit for purpose.

Daryl Lees, from Kirkby, said: “Someone mentioned it was just an old sports complex, but that’s just its modern and current history.

Kirkby’s new leisure center is already popular – and the new car park could help attract more users.

“It used to be home to shows, events, theatre, movies, carnivals and pageants, everything a city was.

“Too often Kirkby’s buildings have been removed for reclamation, cutting the town off from its history, culture and place in the world. It is sad that modernization and regeneration must destroy the heart and soul of a city’s heritage in order to progress in the world.

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