THE DEMOLITION of Bodmin's landmark Foster Hall is imminent after the failure of a long-running campaign to save the building.
Contractors have secured the site with fencing before the bulldozers move in to flatten the building, which was designed by noted Cornish architect Silvanus Trevail.
Cornwall Council gave approval for the Foster complex of buildings to be demolished without conducting a public consultation exercise, which it said was not required.
The fate of the Foster complex is the subject of an article in the current issue of Private Eye, which criticises the lack of consultation with Bodmin residents, and the fact that attempts to list the building three times have fallen on deaf ears.
Some years ago, the Foster Hall Revival Trust was formed with ambitious plans to revamp the building into a community art venue.
The Cornish Buildings Group, which attempts to preserve important buildings in the county, has been battling to save it and made another approach to English Heritage to obtain listed building status for the Edwardian building.
The group's chair, Paul Holden, thanked people for their support, but said talks with the building's owners, Community 1st Cornwall, had failed and there was little more it could do to save it.
"We do feel that we have tried everything in our power to save the Foster complex from the bulldozers," he said.
"Community 1st has come back (to us) saying that they feel they have done everything they can to find a re-use for the buildings and subject to that being unsuccessful demolition will go ahead as planned.
"They feel that without any statutory protection the buildings are less worthy of preservation and now the time has come to move forward and release the NHS from the burden of the site."
The Foster buildings are leased to the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
The trust's estates and facilities manager, Ian Bartlett, said this week: "Following the decision made earlier this year, work to demolish the old asylum buildings is due to start shortly and contractors are currently moving onto the site. Whenever possible materials will be salvaged for re-use.
"Clearing the site will free the area for redevelopment and regeneration in line with plans for Bodmin's development."