New offer to decide future of threatened church hall

A public meeting was held at The Cube in Poulton regarding the closure and possible demolition of St Chad's Church Hall. Wendy Barnes, Chairman of the Chaddeans amateur dramatic society, who use the hall for their productions.
A public meeting was held at The Cube in Poulton regarding the closure and possible demolition of St Chad's Church Hall. Wendy Barnes, Chairman of the Chaddeans amateur dramatic society, who use the hall for their productions.
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A council leader has agreed to host a crunch meeting between concerned residents, church representatives and councillors to discuss the future of a church hall.

More than 180 people attended a meeting, called by Concerned Residents of Poulton (CROP), to discuss action to save St Chad’s Church Hall, on Vicarage Road, Poulton.

Insurers say that unless the hall’s tower and rear wall are repaired it cannot be insured and must therefore close.

The current insurance runs out at the end of October.

Wyre Council leader Coun Peter Gibson, Breck ward councillor, has offered to host a meeting, inviting four 
Poulton councillors, four members of CROP and four members of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) – which runs the building – to sit down together.

Coun Peter Gibson said: “I would be happy to facilitate a meeting to discuss a way forward, [to find] what is the situation for the church, what is the cost of demolition or replacement?”

The PCC has said its preference is to demolish the building and build a new hall in its place.

But concerns have been raised over whether a replacement building would include the same facilities as the existing structure, including a full theatrical stage.

CROP is hoping the hall can be restored and community members have pledged to support a repair scheme financially.

John Bailie, a member of CROP, said: “The whole thing is about a community facility. We feel that what exists could be restored and retained.

“We have access to grant funding and there is a lot of energy in the town to support fund-raising.”

The church currently has around £29,000 raised to fund repairing or replacing the church hall, and a further £135,000 in coffers which could be spent on the 
project.

Martin Keighley, vicar at St Chad’s Church and a member of the PCC, said: “We have that difficult decision to make as to whether we spend resources on keeping this building open or keep those monies for our stated preference which is to demolish and replace this hall.”