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Villagers unite behind plans for £1m centre
9:30am Thursday 29th March 2012 in News
VILLAGERS turned out in force to give their backing to a scheme to build a new £1m community hall.
Almost 200 people attended the meeting in Whiteparish where plans to sell off the village hall, demolish the village sports pavilion and replace it with a new combined community building were approved.
The new building to be called the Memorial Centre will stand next to the memorial ground on the site of the current pavilion and will house a community hall and sports changing facilities.
The meeting voted by 177-9 in favour of the scheme.
Linda Palmer, chair of the Memorial Centre Working Group said “I was delighted with the result. It was such a convincing vote of support and confidence.”
The new building will have a kitchen and a smaller meeting room in addition to the main hall. The hall will be 17.5m long and will have a ceiling height of 6.7m making it big enough for badminton.
The changing rooms will have a separate entrance and the centre will be designed so that sports teams and community groups can use it simultaneously.
There will a separate store for groundsman’s equipment such as mowers and rollers.
The project will see the existing Memorial Ground and Village Hall Trusts merged to form a new Memorial Centre Trust.
The site of the 90-year-old village hall, in Romsey Road, will be sold off to help fund the building of the new centre. The village hall trust already has outline planning permission for two homes on the land.
Anne Baker, chairman of the Village Hall Trust said the building, gifted to the community by Lady Melchet after World War I, was in need of a complete refurbishment and even if that was done it still had inadequate parking.
Despite its poor condition the hall is well used, said Mrs Baker, with the WI toddler groups, bowls and badminton clubs among its regular customers.
It is hoped to hang onto the village hall for as long as possible to avoid an awkward interval between the loss of the hall and the opening of the new centre.
Mrs Palmer said it is hoped to start ground work on the new centre in October and that the building would be open for use sometime in the summer of 2013.
“We’ve spent 40 years talking about it now we’ve got to get on with it,” said Mrs Palmer, who pointed out that it was first suggested the village hall be replaced in 1970.
The Memorial Centre plan’s approval came on the same day that it was announced that the Memorial Ground Trust had received a grant of £35,680 from Sport England to re-site the current worn-out cricket square.
Work is due to start on this in the autumn.