A petition has been launched calling on Belfast City Council to ‘Save the Floral Hall at Belfast Zoo.’
The petition had almost 2,400 signatures on Wednesday.
It states the following:
“We the undersigned are calling on Belfast City Council to Save the Floral Hall at Belfast Zoo from any further damage from the weather and to take urgent steps to make the building waterproof.
“We urge Belfast City Council to take forward plans to remove the asbestos from this famous Belfast landmark by starting a tender process for said works leading to the restoration and reuse of this beautiful Art Deco Building.
“We are appealing for Belfast City Council to seek out all available funding sources and to restore this magnificent Art Deco building for future generations to enjoy. The Ballroom of Romance as it is affectionately known, is loved by many people across all divides in Northern Ireland and beyond. It stands just inside the entrance of Belfast Zoo a sad relic of the troubles that sounded its demise. The Floral Hall was born before an age of political divides and we urge ALL Belfast City Councillor’s to have this conversation with your voters and ask if you have their support to take this restoration plan forward.
“We want this building to be restored to celebrate and retain it’s Art Deco design and for it to be made into a functional, multi-purpose and enjoyable space so as not to cause any burden to the rate payer. We want this building to be enjoyed for dances, as a wedding venue, tearooms, restaurant, function rooms and an educational centre for Zoo visitors.
“The Floral Hall has been left to rot for far too long and we the undersigned are calling for Belfast City Council to take up its responsibilities and preserve this building before it is too late.
“The lovely Floral Hall, situated within the grounds of Belfast Zoo overlooking Cavehill has been closed to the public since 2 April 1972 and now stands neglected and empty. In it’s heyday it once was a beautiful 1930’s ‘art-deco’ ballroom which held popular dances with our famous showbands. Pink Floyd, Roy Orbison and The Small Faces played there, it was also popular for roller skating in the 1960’s – 1970’s. It was built by J & R. W. Taggart Building Contractors and opened on 4 May 1936 and was surrounded by the beautiful Bellevue Gardens.”
Support has been high for the cause. Alexandra Martin of Belfast has commented: “I am sick of our beautiful buildings being left to rot and then being bulldozed to rubble.”
Whilst Carmel Wilson, Carrickfergus, said: “To keep this beautiful building and STOP wasting money elsewhere. We need these buildings for our children’s history and attract tourism.”
The petition can be found online at www.change.org.