A Milton Keynes music venue steeped in history and where the Rolling Stones once performed could be demolished to build six houses.
PICTURES: CLICK THE GALLERY LINK ABOVE TO SEE WILTON HALL NOW, ARTIST IMPRESSIONS OF THE PLANS AND WHEN ROLLING STONES CAME TO THE HISTORIC MK VENUE
Wilton Hall, despite being in a quiet backwater of Bletchley, hosted many of the country’s top rock & roll acts during the 1960s.
Adam Faith, Gene Vincent, The Hollies, Rolf Harris, Marty Wilde and Johnny Kidd were just a few of the names that drew the crowds to the venue.
Now a planning application has been lodged with MK Council to demolish the building and build six detached houses on the site.
“It will be sad, but everything must change,” said owner Tony Manni, who bought Wilton Hall from the council 18 years ago.
Since then he and his team have run the hall successfully as a community venue, hiring it out for wedding and private functions as well as staging their own events.
Tony said: “I’m 71 years old and I can’t run this place for ever. The planning application is just a feasibility study and we do not know what will happen.
“But meanwhile I will continue to run Wilton Hall as normal. We are open for bookings and business will very much continue.”
Local councillors and residents are against the demolition, saying the building is a valuable community facility that is remembered nostalgically by thousands.
Realistically, however, MK Council is short of housing and will find it hard to refuse.
The planning application, on behalf of Clovercourt Homes LLP, states the hall is not a listed building and is of “limited visual and historic value.”
The application also states there are plenty of other community halls and facilities available in the area.
Wilton Hall was built in the 1940s and was part of the famous Bletchley Park. It was used as an assembly hall and party venue for the codebreakers and other staff during the Second World War.
The council then ran it for years as a music venue that attracted top bands.
The Rolling Stones performed there in March 1964 - just a few weeks before they shot to number one in the charts for the first time.
Ironically the song was called It’s All Over Now.
One member of the Wilton Hall audience recalls: “When the Stones came down, part of the wall fell down at the front....the girls came screaming out...we just walked in and the band started playing.”
Bletchley Park ward councillor Alan Rankine said: “Wilton Hall is a special place to the local community and so many people have fond memories of going there. It should not be demolished.”