It was the offer of a land donation in 2014 which suddenly made a new hall possible and a project team was formed to move things forward. Extensive investigations determined that the land being offered was the only suitable site for a new hall. An architectural competition was won by world famous Make Architects and their design evolved through feedback from the village into an attractive, sustainable building in sympathy with its setting but offering the village modern facilities for years to come.
It was decided to use a Community Right to Build Order (CRtBO) to get approval to build and a series of surveys and studies were commissioned by the project team as part of this process – the first time it has been used in Wiltshire although many similar projects have been approved throughout the country. The design proposal, together with all the surveys and studies, went through an exhaustive public consultation process and then an independent inspector was appointed by Wiltshire Council to review the proposal and ensure that it was compliant with all the relevant legislation and planning regulations. The inspector approved the proposal without a single amendment.
The final stage of the CRtBO process was a referendum which was held in March 2019. The referendum was conducted by Wiltshire Council using the same protocols as for a local or parliamentary election and all residents aged 18 and over of Cherhill Ward, as defined in Wiltshire Council’s Area Designation Notice, were eligible to vote. The question asked in the referendum was: “Do you want the development in the community right to build order for Cherhill to have planning permission?” : 191 people voted ‘Yes’ and 106 voted ‘No’, or 64% of those who voted were in favour of the proposal.
As a result of the positive result in the referendum the CRtBO was ‘made’ and planning permission for the new hall was granted. Fundraising is now underway. The freehold of the current village hall and the land on which it stands is held by Cherhill Village Hall Charitable Incorporated Organisation and the proceeds of selling the site will be used to help finance the new hall.