Councillors warned over hall meeting

PUBLISHED: 14:13 05 April 2007 | UPDATED: 13:54 04 May 2010

A MEETING to discuss the future of St Andrew s Parish Hall in Soham will not go ahead and two councillors who booked the venue have been warned about their conduct. Campaigners fighting to save the church hall in Soham are now struggling to find a place

A MEETING to discuss the future of St Andrew's Parish Hall in Soham will not go ahead and two councillors who booked the venue have been warned about their conduct.

Campaigners fighting to save the church hall in Soham are now struggling to find a place to hold a public meeting.

A meeting for the newly-formed Soham Community Hall Trust, who will investigate ways of raising money to save the St Andrew's Parish Hall site, was due to take place at The Pavilion on Fountain Lane today (Thursday), but it has been cancelled by Soham Town Council clerk David Giles, who deemed it to be inappropriate.

Chairman of the council Fiona Ross, who backed Mr Giles' decision, said: "With the elections coming up this is clearly an inappropriate meeting for The Pavilion, though I'm not saying that this group could never hold a meeting there in the future.

"A town councillor booked the venue without declaring what it was for, and the first we heard about it was when we saw the public notices advertising it. A couple of councillors have been warned about their conduct with regards to this."

Campaigner Jacky Hibbert said: "We are not an extreme organisation; we are just trying to hold a public meeting. We are very disappointed by this decision, and are now trying to find another venue, but will struggle to find anywhere big enough.

"It's all pretty ironic considering that we are trying to save the church hall site because we feel there is nowhere else adequate in the town for community gatherings."

It is not known how many people were expected to attend the meeting, but a petition with more than 2,000 signatures from people unhappy at the sale of the parish hall site was presented to East Cambridgeshire District Council's community services committee meeting two weeks ago.

The sale of the site, which is owned by the St Andrew's Parochial Church Council, is awaiting planning permission.


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