Community hall project could go ahead, if tax rise is accepted

A new artist's impression of the plans. Picture: Congresbury New Village Hall DevelopmentTrust

A new artist's impression of the plans. Picture: Congresbury New Village Hall DevelopmentTrust - Credit: Archant

Villagers have been asked if they would be willing to swallow an increase in council tax, if it means a long-awaited community hall can be built.

Congresbury Village Hall Ltd is working on plans for a multi-use facility which would be a hub for community activities and the village’s sports clubs.

More than £100,000 has been pledged to the project by villagers through a community share scheme, but more cash is required if the development – which would be situated at the King George V Playing Fields in Stonewell Drive – is to go ahead.

The team behind the project is working with Congresbury Parish Council to review the option of applying for a Public Works Loan from the Government – which could see hundreds of thousands of pounds borrowed at a low interest rate to get the plans off the ground.

If the parish council agrees to take out the loan, villagers would foot the bill through an increase in council tax.

A loan of £500,000, for example, would see monthly council tax bills in Congresbury increase by £1.25-3.66, depending on band rating, for 20 years.

But advocates of the scheme believe profits from the hall when it is up and running could be used to limit the tax rise.

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A survey has been launched by to gauge villagers’ views on the loan, and the project team believes it is an opportunity to deliver top-quality facilities.

Project spokesman Ian Sheppard said: “A new hall has been talked about for more than 25 years, but now we are in a position to make this come true.

“It will be the parish council’s decision whether a loan is applied for and the amount involved.

“However, the parish council would only look at this as an option if there was significant support from villagers. It is important all householders complete a survey form.

“The new building is designed to provide 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 a bar as well as being a party venue for hire.

“It will also be the home of the cricket, football and tennis clubs and various skittles teams.”

To take part in the survey, visit