meeting parish hall

Parish Hall: what will the future be?

On the chilly Wednesday evening of 7th February, 31 members of Bawdrip Parish met in the Parish Hall to consider its future. The meeting was hosted by the Bawdrip Churchwardens, Mike Murkin and Simon Peel. Mike led the discussion and we were fortunate to have been joined by the Diocesan Parish Resources and Development Adviser, Andrew Rainsford.

Having welcomed everyone Mike outlined the purpose of the meeting which was to assess what current support there was within the village for looking at various options for the provision of the type of facility that the Hall currently tries to provide.

Mike highlighted some of the pressures for considering the future of the Hall – these included the current state of the kitchen and lavatory facilities and the number of people who have identified that the hall is somewhat lacking in heating (well demonstrated on the evening!) and concerns about the size and the parking facilities.

The PCC had previously discussed the options that could be available, and Mike outlined these. As a courtesy these had been shared with all the neighbours in the immediate vicinity of the Hall prior to the meeting. In all there were five options presented. These ranged from doing nothing through refitting the kitchen, refurbishment, rebuild, relocation to possibly extending the use of the church by carrying out significant re-ordering work. Each option was described and positives and negatives for each one were explored. The floor was then invited to join in a discussion of the options and to suggest any further options. Issues regarding the site including access and parking and disposal of waste were highlighted. Concerns over the availability of land elsewhere were also raised. Two further options also came to light. One was based on the hall in Shapwick which was created in a pre-existing barn. Another suggestion was making more use of the facilities at the local school.

Andrew was then invited to discuss some of the funding options which is his area of speciality. He was able to share with us many examples of villages that have been successful in raising the funds

through a mixture of grants and events to fund their Parish Halls. He was also able to describe how other villages had managed to re-develop within the existing plots and explained how the planners have changed over the years and several halls have proportionately low numbers of parking spaces. Other examples of how new builds could incorporate many ecologically sound principles such as composting toilets were also shared. The meeting concluded by deciding that the way forward would only become clearer once we really knew what we were dealing with. A survey had been carried out 10 years ago and it was now felt that a new survey would be appropriate. Andrew identified that there are possible grants available to help with this and the action from the meeting was to apply for that as quickly as possible (this has now been done and we await the decision eagerly). Thanks were expressed to everyone who turned out and a commitment to keep all the information in the public eye was made (this forms part of it).

Article reproduced from the Link March 2018