September 17 2014 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Christchurch is hoping to have its new village hall up and running by the New Year – and Fenland Council has confirmed it will help to pay for it.
There were fears that £100,000 allocated three years by then council leader Alan Melton as part of a £600,000 package for rural villages might not still be available.
But this week, as plans for the new hall finally went out for public consultation, new leader John Clark confirmed the money was still available.
“I’ve checked with officers and yes the £100,000 is in the capital programme to the Christchurch hall,” he said.
It means with an expected £100,000 from parish councillor and developer Wes Poole who bought the old hall and with money from the sale of building plots, the £325,000 cost can be met.
Morton & Hall Consulting of March has submitted plans for the hall to Fenland Council which show it being built on the site of the bowling club in Upwell Road.
The company says the hall will be available for weddings and birthdays, craft and garden clubs, indoor bowls and the WI. But it will also be able to host outdoor bowls and junior football.
Originally the village hoped to replace the memorial hall – closed on safety grounds earlier this year- but once a land swap deal was scuppered those hopes diminished.
Cllr Poole’s agent Peter Humphrey successfully applied for a housing development behind the old memorial hall three years ago.
Mr Humphrey had pointed out that Cllr Poole “has, in taking the land into the proposed development site, contributed significantly to the funds for the construction of the new hall proposed for the village.
“Additionally he proposes, on completion of a satisfactory planning permission for the proposed development, to make further direct financial contribution to assist in the completion of the new hall project.”
A survey of villagers eight years ago showed nearly half (47 per cent) favoured refurbishing the existing hall and only a quarter (26 per cent) liked the idea of linking it with the sports pavilion.
The same survey showed very few villagers (6 per cent) would volunteer to help run the new hall wherever it was sited.