A popular church hall will close its doors at the end of the month – because no funding is available to restore it.
The St Chad’s Parochial Church Council voted to shut the Poulton facility, on Vicarage Road, because the £100,000 needed to restore the hall is not available.
The controversial closure comes after residents in the town made it clear they would be strongly against the church hall – which has been in the town since 1925 – shutting down.
Rev Martin Keighley, vicar of St Chad’s Church, said: “The vote was that we haven’t got the money to keep it open so it will close at the end of the month.
“Unfortunately there will be no community events.
“If a trust was formed and they managed to raise money to renovate it then it could open again but that’s not going to happen soon and it will take some considerable time.
“There’s a sadness that it’s going to close but there’s a realism that we couldn’t spend £100,000 immediately to keep it open.
“There’s a lot of controversy and people do think there should be a church hall here, but if this trust does come forward something could happen.
“I want a facility to be available both to the church and the people of Poulton.”
Groups who use the hall regularly include the Chaddeans amateur dramatics society, while pressure group Concerned Residents of Poulton (CROP) have led calls for it to be saved.
John Bailie, a spokesman for the group, said: “The hall could be restored and upgraded to modern standards for less than they think it will cost , but they need to meet us.
“I’m talking about grant aids and fund-raising because this could be done and there’s a possibility of a 100 per cent grant. I feel there is progress to be made in the next weeks if we can talk to the vicar.
“This is an asset for the town that must be saved and if it’s closed indefinitely will deteriorate. We must avoid that.”
Coun Peter Gibson, Wyre councillor for Breck ward, said: “Although the church hall is to be closed at the end of the month it can be positive.
“Setting up a trust is what the church is suggesting and when we had a meeting a few weeks ago the church council said they were looking at all options and one of those was to set up a trust, so if we can get that set up and get the right people on the trust, it can be beneficial in the long run.”