10-year Campaign For Community Hall In Soham

PUBLISHED: 13:03 21 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 04 May 2010

THE fight is almost at an end to save a community hall in the centre of Soham. Plans have been submitted for nine houses and four flats to be built on the site. It was in August 1997 that St Andrew s Church Hall was closed to the public to enable the bui

THE fight is almost at an end to save a community hall in the centre of Soham.

Plans have been submitted for nine houses and four flats to be built on the site.

It was in August 1997 that St Andrew's Church Hall was closed to the public to enable the building of a new hall on the south side of St Andrew's Church.

These plans were turned down. No repairs had been carried out on the hall for 14 years. It had previously been used for youth clubs, for groups to hire for entertainment, jumble sales and a much needed mini-market, including shoes and clothing sales.

Residents were very angry; claiming the sale of the hall took the very heart out of Soham, and asked why the renovation of the church hall was not put forward for millennium money and why the town council did not ask for a grant from East Cambridgeshire District Council to bring the hall up to date.

Soham Town Forum was founded in 1998. In 2001, there were plans to get the residents involved in providing the town with a much-needed community hall. A steering group was set up. Following the 'Let's Make the Most of Soham' meetings organised by the forum and ECDC to find out what residents wanted in the town. At the meetings a community hall was rated four times more popular than any other improvement or additional facility, and the re-opening of Soham station took second place.

Residents now eagerly await the outcome of the Audit of Community Facilities in Soham presentation by consultants Celia Dickinson and Gill Robinson which will take place at the Annual Town Council Meeting on Monday, April 28, in the Pavilion at 8pm. Hopefully, this will show that there is a need for a community hall in Soham for use by all residents- adults and children.

Plans have also been submitted to East Cambs District Council for new guide and scout's huts to include an air gun range and viewing platform, having been promised section 106 money, surely we should get more help from the council in grants to provide facilities for the town.

My vision for a community hall in Soham, provided the church hall housing development goes ahead, is the same as 10 years ago, which was that a hall should be built next to the Pavilion, to include a main hall with a stage, which could be used as a theatre and a cinema, two smaller meeting rooms, a kitchen and a bar. The scouts and guides could meet in the Pavilion and perhaps have a hut for their equipment. An air gun range could perhaps be provided at the sports hall. This would mean that all Soham residents could benefit from any grants and Section 106 money available.

Cllr PEGGY GIBBON

The Butts

Soham.

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