Why does Cherhill need a new Village Hall?

The ambition of replacing Cherhill’s Village Hall is not a new one. It has been around for at least 10 years and was a topic that was addressed when the Cherhill and Yatesbury Parish Plan was published in 2010. You can read the Plan by clicking HERE. Go to pages 19 and 20 and you will see the finding that:

“For a new community hall, 79% of people would use it frequently or occasionally.”

….and the population is growing:

Population GraphicThe current Village Hall is very busy and its schedule is pretty much full. This means that it isn’t possible to encourage new start-up groups and existing users are unable to expand their activities as their popularity increases – an unhealthy and frustrating situation for any community. Even the Parish Council are often unable to secure a slot for their meetings. To see for yourself how packed the current hall’s schedule is just CLICK HERE

As for parking…. a picture is worth a thousand words….

JCC_4599-Edit JCC_4586

The current hall is a single large room which means that only one event or user-group can be accommodated at any one time. The arrangement of lighting controls and the single entrance/exit prevents sub-division of the space to allow multiple users. The small side room by the stage can, on occasions, be used in addition to the main hall but it is small and severely limited by the amount of space which is taken up by storage. There is  no dedicated storage in the hall which means that the available space is always reduced by the need to accommodate furniture and other equipment. The majority of the current Hall’s user groups struggle with the lack of storage space.

Where would the new hall be?

Site OS Arrow   Site area

Why put the new hall in Park Lane? The Ainslie family have very generously offered to donate a piece of land on condition that it is used exclusively as the site for a new Village Hall. The piece of land in question is at the junction of Park Lane and the A4. There are definite advantages to using this site for a new village hall:

  • Land gifted for community use
  • Adjacent to A4
  • Best road access
  • Safest for pedestrian access
  • Easiest to find

Couldn’t another site be used? There isn’t another site available; we have searched and the full story is HERE

Won’t a village hall on the site lead to houses being built as well? The Wiltshire Core Strategy provides up-to-date strategic planning policy for Wiltshire. As Cherhill is designated a ‘small village’  it is expected that only a limited amount of development would come forward as infill sites; infill is described in the Core Strategy as the filling of a small gap within the village that is only large enough for not more than a few dwellings, generally only one dwelling. There’s more detail HERE 

How can we have a hall but not housing.? In the Wiltshire Core Strategy community buildings are treated differently to other categories 

Isn’t the village in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty? Cherhill is within the North Wessex Downs area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and so is most of the county, plus a good part of Berkshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire. The AONB management is not opposed in principle to the Project – they are very keen to support thriving communities and see the need for up to date facilities to help do that. We will continue to work with the AONB team as the Project progresses.

How will the new hall be paid for? During the design and planning process the project has already received grants from the local Area Board, the Community Rights Programme and existing Village Hall reserves. Additional funding may become available from central government  associated with the CRtBO process.

Following the CRtBO referendum, if it is successful, the Steering Group will embark upon a major fund-raising exercise. Naturally we do not yet know the total build cost since the design has to be finalised following consultation with the village.  Some of the total should rightly be raised within our community, but the large majority will need to be raised from external sources. There are many sources of grants for community projects, including the National Lottery Good Causes fund. These will be explored once we have a better grasp of the expected cost of the project.