New village hall project to close as coronavirus affects plan

An artists impression of the proposed new hall. Picture: Congresbury Village Hall Ltd. Picture: Cong

An artists impression of the proposed new hall. Picture: Congresbury Village Hall Ltd. Picture: Congresbury New Village Hall Development Trust - Credit: Archant

Plans to build a new village hall in Congresbury have been shut down.

The project has struggled over the past year and the trustees of the King George V Playing Field – which manage the playing fields and comprises of Congresbury Parish Council, the village’s cricket, football and tennis clubs, the Royal British Legion and St Andrew’s Primary School – feel it is time for a change of approach.

Congresbury Recreation Club, which has been working on an alternative proposal, has been given up to two years to progress its plan.

Last month, Congresbury Village Hall Ltd, which has been campaigning for a multi-use building for the village’s sports clubs and community groups, received another setback as its village hall project was hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The hall would have provided a large sports and activities hall which could also be used as a theatre, arts and cinema club venue, a community café, school holiday activities, meeting space and bar, as well as being a party venue for hire.

MORE: Community hall project delayed due to coronavirus pandemic.

Project spokesman Ian Sheppard said: “Pre-Covid we were making progress with potential grant funders and a construction company provided budget costing of just over £1million for a community hub with a floor area 616m2, including a large hall, which was a priority. This would have allowed significantly more sport and recreation and broader range of activities for the people of the village.

“It has taken a long time to get here but a combination of the lease conditions, the King George V Trustees’ decision which means our planning permission will lapse during the initial period of the alternative plan, the parish council’s reluctance to set aside section 106 and community infrastructure levy monies for a future building, and possible limitations of grant funding as a result of coronavirus means we are closing the project down.

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“While we have not managed to fulfil the vision for a community hub catering for all age groups to meet the needs of the village, villagers will still be able enjoy a range of freshly brewed coffees and delicious home-made cakes in the community café, set up originally to raise funds for the project.

“We would like to thank our volunteers for their efforts, the people who made financial pledges and the local business who supported the project.”