Debate over plans for Bradfield Village Hall
Plans for a new party hall in Bradfield Southend have been released to the public.
At a meeting last Thursday, friends and villagers discussed the plans, while administrators outlined the plan.
As the Trustees themselves showed up overnight, former Newbury Councilor and Mayor and local charity leader Garry Poulson had been invited to chair the meeting at the Hall’s current premises in Southend Road.
The hall opened almost 70 years ago, and supporters of its demolition argue that it is an outdated and inadequate venue.
The proposed new facility will include two halls, a committee room, a playground, a playground, a garden and an improved parking lot.
Building permit was approved for design in 2019, although hall improvements have been on the local agenda for much longer, with the 2008 parish plan finding “support for the village hall and the need for it. to modernize it, on the existing site, into a new multi-purpose community center ”.
So far over £ 700,000 has been raised, including a £ 100,000 grant funded by the Greenham Trust.
A resident of Newbury, Mr Poulson, told the Newbury Weekly News that he had been invited to chair the town hall project public meeting, “as it was important for the town hall committee to brief the community on success to date.
“As an expert in charity support, I recognize the hard work that the village town hall committee has done to bring this project to fruition through planning, design and £ 706,000 in funding, including promises from major donors.
“The financial statements we heard were reassuring and I have no doubt that the project will materialize. The plan has gone too far to allow it to fail.
“There is no doubt that the new hall will transform the current site and create a modern and adaptable center in Bradfield Southend, which is long overdue. “
There was a large turnout at the meeting and among those who expressed reservations about the plans were members of the Bradfield Parish Council.
Critics of the program have expressed concerns about the funding of the project, noting a gap between the nominal cost of the new venue – around £ 2.2million – and the total funds raised so far.
Resident Mike Mee said, “I think there are a lot of people in this community who are serious about the idea of improving the facilities. What we don’t want to do is see a project that is reaching its limits, with a lot of money, time and effort involved, and that is not finished.
“We much prefer a realistic and correctly sized project, completed and delivered to the community, rather than an overly ambitious project that does not end.
In response, the trustees stressed that construction will not begin until the full sum has been brought together and that with proper planning the actual cost could be lower than expected.
They do not think it would be viable to switch to an alternative design at this point, as larger grants, including those from Greenham Trust, were allocated specifically to the program defined in the most recent planning request.
Bradfield Parish Council agrees there is a need to improve hall facilities in the parish, but told the Newbury Weekly News: The parish council has currently withdrawn its support for the project.
The village committee welcomes donations from the public to the program, and these can be made at bit.ly/3ADAeMI