Saturday, 19 August 2017

Council agrees to help with hall makeover

PEPPARD Parish Council is to help fund the ongoing refurbishment of the war memorial hall.

PEPPARD Parish Council is to help fund the ongoing refurbishment of the war memorial hall.

The building in Gallowstree Road has had £56,000 spent on it since 2008 but still needs a new roof and insulation for the walls.

The council provided a £1,700 grant to help build a new kitchen.

The hall trustees appealed to the council for help after their chairman Philip Collings stepped down due to other commitments.

At a meeting of the council last week, trustee Tony Hill asked that a councillor joined the hall committee to provide financial and planning advice. In return, the trustees would help the council run the sports pavilion.

He said: “People could see we’re not just two separate places of entertainment but could be used as a joint facility.”

Mr Hill said the hall needed more improvements to encourage people to use it. The wall insulation and a new roof will cost a total of £55,000 and are scheduled to be completed by 2015.

“These are major cost items,” said Mr Hill. “Both are related to the ‘green footprint’, which the Government is encouraging us to improve.

“More importantly, a new roof will help secure the improvements made to date.”

Mr Hill said the hall was well used thanks to regular bookings from groups such as the Women’s Institute.

Occasional users included some scouts who slept in it overnight for an activity.

The hall has also been used as a polling station and by the National Blood Service.

Honorary treasurer Brian Cresswell said the hall made £13,000 in revenue last year but there was an overall deficit of more than £2,000 due to the refurbishment programme, which was funded from reserves. He expected more income this year.

Sixty-eight per cent of the income was self-generated, while the rest came from South Oxfordshire District Council, Oxfordshire Rural Community Council and Oxfordshire Community Council, among others.

The parish council agreed to work with the trustees and that Councillor Hadley Cooper should sit on its committee.

Councillor Tony Cotton said he was keen to support the hall because it was a village asset.

He said the council should fund specific projects rather than provide grants because then it could reclaim the VAT.

“We shouldn’t get involved in the running costs of the hall,” he said. “That’s what the committee manages and their incentive would be lost if we did that.”

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