Sunday, 05 April 2020

Fish appeal to buy old station

THE Fish volunteer centre in Sonning Common is fund-raising to buy the former village police station.

It has bid £130,000 for the semi-detached property in Lea Road, which is owned by EXP Property Investments.

The former police house next door and two garages are being redeveloped into three new houses.

The charity, which provides transport to villagers in need, is moving to secure its long-term future. 

Its current site in Kennylands Road is leased from Dr Peter Hemphill, a former village GP, but that deal ends in a year and cannot be renewed. It has been there for six years after moving from the village hall.

Fish made an unsuccesful bid for the former police station in March last year, when the building originally came up for sale.

The charity is approaching South Oxfordshire District Council for a £70,000 capital grant and is also in talks about funding with the parish council. It has about £30,000 of reserves.

Former chairman Fred Nickson is encouraging people to support a “buy a brick” appeal.  Each brick costs £10 and supporters’ names will be listed on a plaque once the purchase has been completed. Forms are available at the charity’s current office.

Mr Nickson said: “You’re buying a brick, metaphorically speaking. We have to raise the money by June or July. The developer owns the property but the police authority and district council are keen for the police station to be kept for community use. The move will give stability and permanence. It’s just what we need.”

Fish chairman Richard McQuillan added: “This space is perfect for us because it’s nice and central in the village. Our volunteers can pop in and clients can pop in and have a coffee.”

Mr Nickson has organised a jacket potato lunch to raise money at the village hall on Wednesday, April 29 from 12.30pm. There will be a grand draw with prizes such as £75 for fuel, meal vouchers and wine. Tickets cost £12 and are available from the charity, Occasions in Wood Lane or call Mr Nickson on 07768 918501.

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