Community groups rally to save Letchworth hall
‘HELP save our hall’ is the plea from members of community groups who use a facility which faces closure.
Those who use Brotherhood Hall in Letchworth GC met last night (Thursday) after North Herts District Council (NHDC) revealed plans to close it as part of a strategy which looks at provision of services in the district.
In the strategy NHDC has raised issues such as repair and maintenance costs and under-usage for Brotherhood Hall, as well as Bancroft Hall in Hitchin, which is also threatened by closure.
Among those in attendance at the Gernon Road hall were supporters of Cheap as Chips, Letchworth Garden City Band, ATSK Letchworth Karate Club and Little Spiral Line Dancing, who all use the venue on a weekly basis.
It was decided at the meeting, chaired by former chairman of Letchworth Garden City Town Council Philip Ross, that they would take steps to organise a parish meeting through the current town council, so the issue can be discussed on behalf of the people of the town.
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A date has now been set for the parish meeting, taking place at The Settlement in Nevells Road on Tuesday, July 12, at 8pm.
Pauline Worland, who has run Cheap as Chips, a Thursday food service for the vulnerable, for the last three years, said: “The government are always talking about us being community driven and we’re doing all this for the community and now the council want to take it all away from us. It’s taken three years for people to get to know the place and I don’t know where else we could go.
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“But if we get people together and everyone supports us I think we can do it (keep the hall open).”
Jacqui Piper, a member of Letchworth Garden City Band, who, as well as using the hall, also store their equipment there, said: “From the band’s point of view where else are we going to play that we aren’t going to disturb people?
“I live on the Jackmans Estate and there’s no way we could practice at the community centre and it’s the same for the Grange Community Centre.”
Line dancing instructor Caroline Robson has been using the facility for about the last seven years.
She added: “The council are saying there’s an over provision of halls for the district but we have to have a wooden floor and a stage - to find somewhere else is so impossible it’s unreal.”
A consultation on the strategy runs until August 18. For full details visit NHDC’s website at www.north-herts.gov.uk