Haisham Community Hall takeover official go-ahead

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AN ACTION PLAN to handover the reins of Hailsham Community Hall to Wealden District Council has been given approval by the Charity Commission.

Last week the Express reported that 77 votes were cast in favour of the plan to surrender the lease, with just eight against, at a public meeting held at the community hall on April 11.

Wealden will take over the hall to use for some of its council meetings as part of plans to create a single district headquarters in Hailsham. Community groups will also be allowed to use the facility at the council’s discretion.

Town Clerk Liz Jones said, “I am delighted that the future of our Community Hall has been secured and that, following the refurbishment, our many community groups and organizations will have a quality venue with modern facilities.”

“It is also appropriate that the Hall will now be a venue for Wealden District Council meetings, bringing local government into the heart of the community.”

The Hailsham War Memorial Institute currently owns the hall and it is run by a management committee with Hailsham Town Council.

Once trustees have ratified the agreement, the lease will be transferred to Wealden on May 27.

Some £600,000 has been proposed by the district council to refurbish the facility which is in urgent need of repairs – including a new roof and internal repairs.

A legal agreement will also be made to ensure future community use of the premises during the evenings, weekends and at least two fixed half weekdays. Extra hours of community use will be offered ‘wherever it is reasonable and deliverable’, according to the town council.

A separate advisory committee will also be set up to review the hall’s annual bookings programme, hire fees and other matters involving the district council, institute trust and regular hirers of the hall.

Joy and Brian Coleman who run the weekly Wednesday market at the hall enjoyed by older people told the Express last week they were not happy with the plans. At the time Brian Coleman said: “ We feel they are pushing us out.”