Waterside Theatre in Holbury to be demolished
New Forest District Council’s Planning Committee has approved plans for the demolition of the Waterside Theatre in Holbury.
Theatres Trust is extremely disappointed in the decision, which comes despite our strong objections.
It was the only theatre space in the area and had a unique history, having been built by Esso in 1950 for its social club for employees and other locals. It was well equipped for an amateur theatre with a generous stage, full-height fly lines, lighting rigs and dressing rooms. For a number of years it also functioned as a cinema and the screen is believed to remain.
It closed at the end of 2016 following the bankruptcy of the social club which ran it. This left local groups with nowhere to perform, one of which subsequently disbanded. The Trust is disappointed great weight was placed on the theatre’s vacancy and condition as justification for demolition as local groups were unable to access the venue and the application attracted substantial objection.
A new sports pavilion will instead be provided, which despite calls by local groups will not enable performance use. Demolition will mean the loss of a local heritage asset and a community facility.