‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ as Congresbury hall plans march on
PUBLISHED: 12:30 23 September 2016
A new village hall will be built in a North Somerset village after people voted overwhelmingly in favour of the development.
A referendum to determine the fate of the Congresbury village hall plan took place on September 15 and some 69 per cent of voters said they were in favour of the plan.
The Congresbury New Village Hall Development Trust is behind the plan for the new hall, which will be built along with a community café and car park on the King George V Playing Fields, off Stonewell Drive.
The Trust has planned the scheme through a Community Right to Build (CRtB) order, which meant the plans were considered by an independent planning inspector rather than going through North Somerset Council’s usual planning process.
Some 38 per cent of Congresbury’s electorate voted in the referendum, and Trust spokesman Ian Sheppard said the organisation was delighted at the turnout.
He said: “This is an important milestone but it is only the end of phase one.
“We need to finalise the design ready for further public consultation and agreement by the council.
“We also need to accelerate our fund raising and, as part of that, we intend to set up a new charitable community benefit society to issue community shares.
“There is now light at the end of what seemed a very long tunnel 20 years ago, when the village started talking about having a new community building.”
A council spokesman said the Trust would now have to raise the necessary funds required for the development to take place, and added the authority would formally confirm the order – which would act as outline planning consent – at its full council meeting on November 8.
The spokesman said: “This is the first Community Right To Build Order in North Somerset and the first in the West of England area, with very few having been carried out in the country as a whole.”
The spokesman also said conditions within the order meant some details of landscaping, drainage and design would still need to be submitted to and agreed by the council.