Letchworth hall campaigner ‘optimistic’ about future

A RESIDENT campaigning to keep a community hall open says she is “optimistic” following an announcement earlier this month that another facility will close next year.

Letchworth GC resident Pauline Worland, who uses Brotherhood Hall in the town on a weekly basis, told The Comet that Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation’s decision to close entertainment venue Plinston in Broadway for refurbishment by March 2012 could be to the benefit of the nearby hall in Gernon Road.

The future of Brotherhood is currently under review as part of North Hertfordshire District Council’s (NHDC) Community Halls Strategy, with a public consultation period ending yesterday (Thursday).

The document highlighted that “the council must consider the continued need for, and operational viability of” the hall, as well as Bancroft Hall in Hitchin.

The strategy was discussed at last month’s Letchworth area committee, where councillors stressed the need to keep Brotherhood running.

Mrs Worland, who has been actively campaigning to ensure Brotherhood stays open, and also runs Thursday food service Cheap as Chips there, said: “What’s happening now is there has been a bit of a turn around with the news that Plinston hall is closing.

“I’ve heard that they’re taking more bookings at the hall from (those who used) Plinston so that’s boosting it up a bit.

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“Nobody knows what’s going to happen with Plinston and everyone needs somewhere else to go. We need something central in Letchworth and there’s Brotherhood Hall.”

The Rushby Mead resident, who is starting a bangers, mash and bingo night at the hall on Mondays and Thursday from October, added: “If people all work together Brotherhood Hall could be a brilliant place for the community to use. There’s always more to do but I’m optimistic. I’m quite hopeful about it.”

A spokesman for NHDC said meetings had been held with the Heritage Foundation about relocating Plinston’s many groups who use the facility to halls run by the council.

She confirmed that one group had booked Brotherhood Hall from January 2012, when Plinston’s live evenings will stop.

As yet the nature of the refurbishment at Plinston has not been determined, with customer research to be carried out this autumn.