Hall to change hands?

A RUN-down community hall in Portishead could be taken over and run by local residents. Avon Way Hall at West Hill is home to a number

A RUN-down community hall in Portishead could be taken over and run by local residents.Avon Way Hall at West Hill is home to a number of local organisations including a pensioners' club and toddlers' group, but is now in a poor state of repair and needs £25,000 spent on it to bring it up to standard.At a meeting on Monday night, organised by Councillor David Jolley, a series of options for the future of the building were put forward.One included setting up a management committee, comprising of local residents and users, to take over the day to day running of the building.The other option was to leave the building, which was built in 1966, in the hands of North Somerset Council.Councillor Jolley said: "If the hall is run by a group of local people there are grants available from central Government to improve it."Left to the council, which has limited funds, it will do what it can afford to do."If it is run by the community there is a far greater opportunity to develop the hall, increase the number of people using and generate more revenue."North Somerset Council has pledged to bring the hall up to standard before any handover takes place. Work would include redecorating the hall, installing a new kitchen and bar/servery area and putting in new windows and guttering.Once the work was complete the hall, which costs £12,000 a year to run, would be handed over.Residents at the meeting said they would rather see the hall managed by local residents than left to North Somerset Council.But they said they would like more information on the exact running costs and revenue generated from hire charges before taking the matter forward.Pensioner Doris Hayward, who has attended the hall's senior citizens club for more than 30 years, said she was keen to see the building improved.Mrs Hayward, aged 89, said: "We want to make sure the hall is kept for the future and improved for the local community."We certainly wouldn't want to see it closed as we meet here each Monday and really enjoy it."A further meeting to discuss the hall's future is planned later this Spring.

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