Thursday, 20 February 2020

£28,000 spent on delayed hall project

ALMOST £28,000 has been spent by Benson Parish Council on a project to extend the parish hall — without a brick being laid.

The figures were revealed by Ian Leppard, who asked for a breakdown of the costs at the annual parish meeting in April.

Figures provided by the council show it spent £27,864.46 from March 2016 to October 2018 on designs, advice, fees and expenses.

The project has been discussed for several years and revised a number of times.

Mr Leppard, who lives in High Street, Benson, told a council meeting: “If I was spending that at home I would want to see some darn good results.”

He claimed the councillors couldn’t make up their minds and kept changing the plans. The project was 
revised again at the end of last year.

The £700,000 scheme was granted planning permission in 2017 but was put on hold while plans for a new community building were being agreed.

Cala Homes will include this building in the second phase of its 241-home development north of Littleworth Road after negotiations with the council.

The parish hall was to have a ground floor extension and a roof extension to enable the parish office to move from the first floor, where the conference room was to be enlarged.

The entrance hall was to be extended, the toilets and kitchen refurbished and solar panels fitted.

The post office would move to the hall from the sports pavilion.

The council’s parish hall extension group has now instructed its architect to reduce the extension to include only a new parish office with storage above, refurbishment of the kitchen, toilets, a new kitchen store, a new reception room and a lift.

The plans will provide for the potential to further extend the first floor in future.

• Benson Parish Concil has awarded a grant of £150 to Oxfordshire South and Vale Citizens Advice.

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