Review under attack

PUBLISHED: 12:09 29 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:07 04 May 2010

A £5,000 review of community facilities around Soham is being launched following the uproar over the sale of St Andrew s Church Hall for ­housing. Residents and community groups will be quizzed to find out the availability and usage of facilities in the

A £5,000 review of community facilities around Soham is being launched following the uproar over the sale of St Andrew's Church Hall for ­housing.

Residents and community groups will be quizzed to find out the availability and usage of facilities in the town.

But some residents are angry that independent researchers are being paid to carry out work that should have been done by Soham Town Council.

Cllr Rosemary Atchison said she was "disappointed" by the move.

"It is our job as elected representatives to ask they public what they think and represent their views," she said.

Fellow councillor Julie Webb, who is also a trustee fighting to save the hall, said: "This review a waste of public money."

The review was requested by town councillors earlier this year after protesters demonstrated about the sale of the church hall, which they claimed was paid for with public money and should be kept for the community.

The protesters, however, maintained that an internal review was not possible because some town councillors also hold seats on St Andrew's Parochial Church Council, which had agreed to sell the hall site to developers.

David Giles, Soham Town Council chairman, said: "There are about 20 to 25 other possible venues for community groups to use, but we wanted to establish, from the point of view of an outsider, the ­availability and usage of facilities."

Community Hall Trust chairman John Palmer said: "About £5,000 was given originally from East Cambridgeshire District Council to check what could be done about saving the hall, but the town council asked for a wider remit. I don't think we are going to get a very fair result."

An East Cambridgeshire District Council spokesman said: "Anyone and everyone who visits, lives in Soham or uses the community facilities can come forward and give their views. We want the consultants to be inundated with responses."

Consultations will go on until March.

Until further notice, the consultants can be contacted via Soham Town Council at the Pavilion on Fountain Lane.

n WHAT DO YOU THINK? Let us know what facilities you would like to see in Soham. Write to The Ely Standard, 38 Market Street, Ely CB7 4LS or you can e-mail us at ­editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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