Chair: Dan Pedley
Members: Neil Haycock, Stephen Hedley, Caroline Prince, Christine Prince, John Thorpe
The key objectives of the Village Hall and Meeting Places Working Group (WG) are to generate proposals to improve existing community facilities, or create new ones, to meet the needs and aspirations of the community in Church Broughton.
The Working Group has surveyed existing facilities in Church Broughton and surrounding area and visited several village halls in nearby locations (Ticknall, Repton, Boylestone, Smisby, Dalbury Lees and Cubley).
The Working Group also documented the extensive range of activities which currently take place in the existing facilities (Parish Church, Methodist Chapel and Schoolroom and Church Broughton Primary School). This showed that (excepting for the 2020 Covid circumstances) there is strong demand for a meeting place for many different events. These activities include exercise classes (eg. pilates, yoga, dance, chair-based exercise), ballroom dancing classes, concerts, Parish Council meetings, table tennis, book café, pantomime, social events (eg. parties, film nights etc), shop and café, aspirations for other things such as badminton and a club for teenagers.
In May 2019 the WG presented a number of options to a public meeting held in the Parish Church, following which everyone was invited to vote for their preferences. The options included various renovations to the Parish Church, building a new Village Hall, and renovating the Methodist Chapel and Schoolroom.
The consultation showed that there was strong support for building a new Village Hall, with the highest proportion (46%) of votes received having this as their first choice. It is thought that this desire results from the wide range of existing activities which are currently held in several different venues, all of which are a compromise to some degree or other. There was some interest in a large scale renovation of the Parish Church which included removal of all the pews, which attracted 28% of votes for this as their first choice. Renovating and leasing the Methodist Chapel and Schoolroom attracted the strongest support as a second choice with 27% of votes.
The PCC which runs the Parish Church has made it clear that it does not currently support a large scale refurbishment of the Parish Church and therefore this option is not being considered further.
Since the ceasing of worship in the Methodist Chapel, the owners have offered to lease the Chapel and Schoolroom to the Parish Council (PC). In November 2019, the CLP supported the Parish Council at a public meeting to assess the community’s support for an increase in the Council Tax precept which would allow the Methodist Chapel and Schoolroom to be leased by the Parish Council. In summary, there was strong support for the proposal, by the people who voted.
The view is that the Methodist Chapel and Schoolroom, nicely refurbished and leased by the Parish Council, will serve as a good interim facility / small community centre whilst the option of a new Village Hall is pursued. The Parish Council has since raised the precept and is in negotiations with the Methodist Chapel owners, albeit progress is slow due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The PC is optimistic about securing a lease agreement with the Methodist circuit but if this does not happen, the PC has advised that it will consult again with parishioners to discuss options for the use of the incremental funds secured via the precept. As we enter 2021, the PC has decided to reduce the precept to prior levels on the basis that if a lease is agreed during 2021, then the incremental funds collected during 2020 will be used to cover the first year of lease charges, and the precept will be increased again in 2022 to cover ongoing lease charges.
The next step is to consider the potential locations and designs for a new Village Hall in more detail. In the first instance there are likely to be costs associated with seeking planning advice and/or design or feasibility studies, and clearly substantial costs associated with the construction itself. It is hoped that this work can be reinvigorated during 2021 as the country comes out of the pandemic.