CONCERNS were raised about a controversial community hall proposal at a town council meeting.

The worries were put forward about a community hall on land next to Pershore Cemetery, off Defford Road.

However, Jacqui Marler representing Pershore Football Club said: "I strongly oppose the hall. Have you thought about all the other venues in Pershore with function rooms that will be in competition?

"I think it is a complete waste of money. Invest in what you have.” Ms Marler gave the youth centre as an example of an organisation that has to “plead for money every year.”

Town Clerk Ann Dobbins said the hall would accommodate the town’s growing population, rather than compete with existing venues. Ms Marler said she was concerned not everybody in the town knows about the proposed community hall. However,m councillors said they had made great efforts to publicise it.

Members of Pershore Town Council noted the shortfall in funds of £204,000 for the proposed Community Hall which currently has a budget cost of £850,000. The Clerk suggested the most appropriate way of funding this would be a loan from the Public Works Loan Board. Following debate it was resolved that the Clerk apply for permission to borrow for the project.

It was then proposed that permission be applied for, to borrow up to £500,000, appreciating that this amount would not be required, but giving the Council the flexibility to repay the balance the loan to refurbish Pershore Library (£200,000 outstanding) should they believe this to be the best course of action.

It was emphasised at the meeting that the council would only be applying to borrow the money and not borrowing it yet.

Councillors also agreed that they would need to hold another public consultation on the new hall, and many members urged that the public be given ‘quality information’ and clarity on what the hall would be like and what it could provide.

Councillor Dan Boatright said: “We need to get a good cross section of the town. It has got to be a significant number of people.” Councillor Boatright also said he was surprised by the ‘strength of feeling’ surrounding the hall, and said hundreds of people wanted to talk about it during his recent election campaign.

Councillor Charles Tucker added: “The consultation needs to be online.”

It was agreed that a consultation on the proposed town hall will only be for Pershore residents to take part in and not people in the surrounding villages.

The community hall, which Wychavon District Council has given planning approval for, would provide a large main function hall and a meeting room, a kitchen, toilets and changing facilities as well as a family history room. The hall would accommodate around 150 people.

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