Letchworth councillors stress need to keep Brotherhood Hall

COUNCILLORS stressed the need to keep a community hall open at a committee meeting last night (Wednesday).

Members of the North Herts District Council’s (NHDC) Letchworth committee spoke in unison that the town’s Brotherhood Hall should not be closed as part of their discussions on the council’s community halls strategy, which is currently under consultation.

Those present at the meeting also reiterated that there was nowhere in the document that said the hall, situated in Gernon Road, would close.

“I agree that it’s a hall I would not like to see disappear,” said leader of the council Cllr Lynda Needham, who represents the Letchworth South West ward.

“This (the strategy) is the district council being hands on and trying to look into a crystal ball gazing way into the future – there is nowhere in this document that says it (Brotherhood Hall) is closing.”

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Responding, Letchworth Grange ward Cllr David Kearns said: “If one reads this document it doesn’t say it is going to close but it says it has to consider it. It is implied.”

Committee chairman Cllr Michael Paterson said the reference to Brotherhood Hall’s ‘demolition’ in the strategy was only in relation to any future plans for the redevelopment of Letchworth Town Centre.

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The display of operating costs in the strategy was also debated, with councillors asking the data to be amended to include the costs incurred by an area committee through subsidising halls such as Brotherhood, in a bid to reflect the true operating costs.

Cllr Kearns also highlighted that some of the figures were “unrecognisable” to operating organisations such as the Grange Community Centre because they take into account depreciation which “isn’t relevant unless the halls are sold”.

All councillors in attendance welcomed suggestions from community groups to work in partnership with NHDC to safeguard the future of the district’s community halls.

Cllr David Levett informed members that Letchworth residents attending a town council meeting on Tuesday, July 12 had voted in favour of a motion to oppose the closure.

The consultation on the council’s community halls strategy runs until August 18, with it expected to go before full council in September.

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