Revamp offer rejected

St Chad's Church Hall in Poulton.
St Chad's Church Hall in Poulton.
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VOLUNTEERS offering to help fund the renovation of a town landmark have been told thanks, but no thanks.

Members of Poulton Forum had pledged to offer support to St Chad’s Church Hall, on Vicarage Road, which is in need of restoration.

But bosses at the parochial church council told them a plan first put in place in 2005 to demolish and rebuild the hall is still their preferred option and there was no point doing work on the existing building.

However, the funding is not yet in place to carry out that work so residents will have to wait for new facilities.

Lesley Middleton, chairman of Poulton and Carleton Residents Association, said a member of Poulton Forum had gathered a group of volunteers to work with the church on finding the cash to fund refurbishment.

She added: “There was a great deal of support for helping to fund-raise and looking for funding streams to renovate. The vicar said they were grateful for the expressions but it’s not in their plans.”

Martin Keighley, vicar of St Chad’s Church, which owns both the church hall and land around it, said: “It is a vital asset and we are committed to replacing it.

“It is of use to the community but obviously there are the financial issues.”

Mrs Middleton, who met with the vicar to put forward the volunteers’ proposals, said they had wanted to get to work immediately on improving the existing facilities.

But she added: “The parochial church council is committed to demolishing and replacing the existing church hall some time in the future, although there are no immediate plans in the offing.

“A lot of people are disappointed.

“But it is the church’s land and hall.”

Mr Keighley said the survey carried out in 2005 for the church found it would not be cost effective to invest money in a restoration.

He added: “There aren’t specific plans at this stage because of funding needed for replacement, that’s what prevents it.

“We’re trying to keep it open in reasonable condition but trying to avoid structural work.

“We have to keep it safe but beyond that we’re not keen to invest large amounts in structural restoration.”

Mrs Middleton said the hall was held in high esteem by many people in the market town, who consider it a vital community resource.

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