BUILDERS have begun to create Barnham’s community hall.
The workers moved on to the Murrell’s Field site last week to start the groundworks for the £1.1m centre.
They wasted no time in spite of the dire weather after the ceremonial digging of the first sod at 6.30pm on June 9 by Barnham Primary School headteacher Julie Hodgson.
One of her pupils, Saffron Burke, was also involved after she had won a painting competition to show the building’s design and facilities.
The milestone in the creation of a centre which was first considered more than 20 years ago has been achieved by a partnership between Barnham Parish Council and the Barnham Leisure and Amenities Enterprise charity.
Parish councillor and BLADE chairman Terry Bedford said: “The digging of the first sod means the hall is now becoming a reality.
“It is going to happen. It will take 44 weeks to build and we are aiming to open it in the first week of next May.
“It has taken six years since we started this project but the vision of the hall dates back to 20-odd years ago when Roger Jones was the chairman of the parish council.”
A large number of villagers were present at the ceremony. It was followed by the first Music in Murrell’s Field festival.
More than 1,000 people turned out on a beautiful night to enjoy the leading Queen tribute band, Flash.
Mr Bedford said: “We had a fantastic time. Everyone enjoyed themselves. We will repeat it in future years because it was so well supported and we made money from it, though we don’t know the final amount yet.”
Barnham’s new hall is the third and final phase of a £1.323m project to provide community facilities.
The first two phases saw a trim trail, a children’s play area and the Barnham Game Zone opened in Murrell’s Field. The funds are coming from donations, grants and the sale of the current hall.