Barnham Community Centre plans progress

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Plans for a new community centre in Barnham have taken a step forward.

Members of Barnham Parish Council have unanimously agreed to apply for a loan not exceeding £400,000 to help cover the costs.

Councillors approved the decision to apply to the Department of Communities and Local Government for a public works loan.

The loan will part-finance the construction of the new hall.

Chairman David Phillips said: “We are all aware that at best the current hall has about 18 months of life left.

“It has been central to the community for many years.

“The new hall will be a huge investment in the parish and our community.

“The people of this parish and the surrounding villages have had an enormous amount of use out of the current hall.

“The loan we are applying for will make up the shortfall and it is intended to be paid off over a 50 year period.

“This way several generations of parishioners will share the financial burden.”

The vital need for a new purpose-built hall was highlighted last month by the chairman of the Barnham Leisure Amenities Development Enterprise (BLADE), Terry Bedford.

The new community centre is expected to cost around £950,000 to build.

BLADE with the help of the council has been fundraising tirelessly for a number of years to raise money not just for the new hall, but other facilities to improve the lives of villagers.

It is hoped the new hall will have a stage, kitchen area, bar, youth room, doctors’ surgery, first aid room, office for the parish clerk and, importantly, storage areas.