Last-ditch bid to save church hall

A party is held at Poulton Church Hall ahead of its proposed closure.
A party is held at Poulton Church Hall ahead of its proposed closure.
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Campaigners have staged a last ditch bid to save a much-loved church hall from permanent closure.

St Chad’s Church Hall is set to shut its doors tomorrow after the Parochial Parish Council voted that it could not afford the £100,000 repair bill to keep it running.

The controversial plans to close it originally sent a wave of disapproval through Poulton and pressure group Concerned Residents of Poulton (CROP) took it upon themselves to try to save the popular Vicarage Road venue.

CROP hosted a party at the church hall to raise funds for the vulnerable facility and views the setting up of a Community Trust as the best option to save it, which the church has backed.

John Bailie, a spokesman for CROP, said: “In the last 12 months the hall has been used by nearly 30 organisations, many with repeat bookings.

“They are now homeless and it is a ludicrous situation for a town with the status of Poulton to have all this business going out of the town, possibly for ever.

Coun Peter Gibson, Breck ward councillor for Wyre Council, said: “The church has decided to look at a Trust arrangement so residents in the community will be on that to consider options for the hall’s future, whether that be a re-location or refurbishment.

“It’s very positive but still a shame the hall is closing on Thursday, but hopefully we can move forward and find something for Poulton.

“It has clearly got tremendous backing and the town needs something like this.”

Rev Martin Keighley, from St Chad’s Church, Poulton, said: “The church is giving the community a chance to form a Trust and it will be up to them to say if it thinks the hall needs to be refurbished or demolished.

“It’s come after people said there’s money out there and they are willing to take part, so we are giving them the chance to do this and the church is taking a step back.”