VILLAGERS have revived an 80-year-old plan to relocate Rowledge’s much-loved but deteriorating village hall to a new location in Fullers Road.
For many years, the Rowledge Village Hall trustees and committee have struggled to keep the hall in a usable condition in the face of the rapid deterioration of the building fabric and several aspects of the its facilities, which are unfit for purpose.
Trustee Jim Duffy said: “We respect the fact that many people love the hall as it is and have many fond memories, but the reality is it is almost impossible to maintain in a habitable condition.
“We only do so at the moment by constantly running a large dehumidifier to prevent the floors from getting too damp and lifting.
“Even though it is now more than 100 years old, the existing hall was only ever meant to be a temporary lightweight structure with little or no foundations.”
Mr Duffy added efforts to replace the hall started as long ago as the late 1940s, but the hopes of generations of trustees have been dashed by the lack of a suitable site for a replacement. Until now.
He said: “The trustees are pleased to confirm the Carter family has kindly agreed an option for us to buy the half-acre Cherryfields Land, with a long frontage on to Fullers Road, subject to planning.
“You may know it as the land that is often used for Rowledge Village Fayre parking and the Rude Mechanicals’ performances. It will make a perfect location, strategically located in the core village centre and within walking distance from everywhere.”
But this is only “step one”, said Mr Duffy, with planning consent “far from a given” and funding yet to be secured.
There are though, he added, “encouraging signs both these problems could be overcome with the support of the local community”.
“We are proposing to build a high-quality community building and gardens that can deliver a robust and attractive setting for a wide variety of social, educational, and recreational activities for many years to come.
“We need to build a consensus that this is something, in principle, that we all want.
“Trustees and committee members are all local volunteers with no political agenda so we would like to hear from you with your comments.”