Stoke Ferry Village Hall
Report on Open Meeting held 2nd February 2016
Residents of Stoke Ferry were invited to an Open Meeting to discuss the future of the Village Hall on 2nd February. Leaflets advertising the meeting were delivered to all properties in Stoke Ferry and posted in local businesses. Around 70 people attended the meeting.
The Secretary of the Village Hall Committee welcomed those present and outlined the aims for the evening, which were to present the facts about the current situation, present options for the future of the Hall, enable discussion with residents, and to come to agreed conclusions about future strategy.
The Current Situation
The Village Hall faces uncertainty, both financially and operationally. Income is enough to cover ongoing expenditure, and a certain level of refurbishment only, and the Hall’s operation depends on a limited number of volunteers taking on much of the work. The roof needs repairs, possibly replacement. The Hall has disadvantages in terms of access (narrow path to the entrance, non wheelchair-friendly, entrance direct onto the main road) and facilities (no phone/broadband/wifi, expensive to heat). It is surrounded by land which is owned by a housing developer (Stoke Ferry Regeneration Ltd), and which is known to be heavily contaminated with asbestos. SFR has offered to gift to the village a carpark to the west of the Hall, on top of sealed contamination from the rest of the site, and wishes the Committee to sign a contract agreeing to this.
The Secretary presented a summary of resources currently available in Stoke Ferry, and various sources of funding. She informed residents that 2Agriculture had agreed to meet with the Village Hall to discuss potential land disposals which may have a bearing on the situation.
Options for consideration
To retain the current hall
To sell the Hall and buy land on which to build a new hall
Depending on discussions with 2Agriculture, to acquire Self’s Field and join with the Playing Field Trust in creating a new facility for the village.
There followed an extensive discussion amongst those present.
Conclusions of the meeting
The current Hall should be retained, and its roof repaired or replaced as necessary, whether or not a carpark adjacent to the Hall is provided;
External funding should be sought, such as Lottery funding;
No agreement should be signed with Stoke Ferry Regeneration Ltd, until or unless a carpark is actually provided, but for planning purposes it should be assumed that a carpark will not be provided next to the Hall;
A review of charges and activities should take place, with the aim of increasing revenue;
A general review of operations should take place, with the aim of putting the Hall on a more business-like footing, without disadvantaging residents.
It was very much hoped that more residents would come forward to offer assistance and expertise to the Committee.
The meeting closed with the Committee thanking those present for attending.
Subsequent to the meeting, enquiries were made with Community Action Norfolk, with the aim of identifying specific sources of funding – a meeting will be held in March – and a number of new events have been booked for the Hall. The Committee will arrange more meetings to keep residents informed of progress, which will be advertised in The Pump and on village noticeboards. Information will also be sent round by email – contact email@example.com to sign up.
Stoke Ferry Village Hall