Fear over future of Letchworth Grade II-listed hall

THE future of a Grade II-listed community hall is in doubt after a spiritualist society revealed fears over renewing a lease it has held for almost 100 years.

The lease of Vasanta Hall in Gernon Walk, Letchworth GC, which stands on land owned by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, is up for renewal at the end of the year but the Letchworth GC branch of Theosophical Society UK, who have owned the current lease since 1912, may not be able to afford it.

Letchworth Lodge of the Theosophical Society, a group which states its philosophy is the perennial wisdom underlying the world’s religions, sciences, and philosophies, currently manage the hall, which is also used by the Letchworth National Spiritualist Church and AUM Shanti Yoga.

Arthur Kyle, general secretary for Letchworth Lodge of the Theosophical Society, said: “We have had discussions with the Heritage Foundation over the renewal of the lease and have been advised that any new lease granted would be on a very short duration and very expensive. Our current lease was taken out in 1912 and set at 10 shillings (50p) a year.

“As a small society we cannot afford a lease of several thousand pounds a year. The building was paid for and built for the society and has been in use for Theosophical purposes since then.

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“As the redevelopment of Letchworth city centre proceeds it is not clear to us what the plot of land on which Vasanta Hall stands will be used for. We have managed to get the building listed as Grade II and would like to see it continue to be used as a centre for the community.”

A spokesman for the Heritage Foundation said: “The Heritage Foundation have had early discussions about the building and will arrange a meeting to discuss the options in more detail. We are happy to offer a new lease and very much hope the hall will remain a community venue for local clubs and societies to use.”

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