AFTER more than a year of secret debates over the future of the controversial Millennium Hall Bramshott and Liphook parish councillors have announced that they are to set up a new management committee to run it when they take over the ownership from Sainsburys.
The announcement will come as a shock to the Millennium Hall Trustees who have been running the hall, for three years after being handed the keys by Sainsburys in February l999.
The trustees include the four original founding trustees who played a major part in the final planning of the hall and have given much of their time voluntarily to run it, since it was opened on March 1. They are chairman Frank Conroy, David Wynn, Mair Townsend and David Lush.
In a statement from the parish council it was announced that the decision was made on Monday.
Chairman Peter Williams said the decision followed Òmonths of discussion during which the Liphook Millennium Hall Trustees felt that they were unable to accept the lease offered to them by the parish council in April 2001. The lack of progress and worries over the management of a valuable community asset led the parish council to rethink the options for managing the building.Ó
He said East Hampshire District Council legal services and the parish council solicitors and management accountants had given advice and support to the initiative.
ÒThe Liphook Millennium Hall Trustees have been invited to work with the parish council in this fresh management approach,Ó said Mr Williams and he added: ÔThe council is very appreciative of the time and effort that the trustees have contributed over the last three years and values their knowledge and expertise.Ó
He said the new management committee would include councillors and members of the public and it would have its own budget, but the parish council would administer the building.
ÒIt is hoped that members of the Liphook Millennium Hall Trust will add their skills to the new management processes and join in the development of the committee. Anybody wishing to join the new committee should contact the parish office,Ó said Mr Williams.
ÒWe hope everybody in the parish will embrace this new initiative aimed at providing a sustainable realistic and beneficial solution for the future management of the Millennium Hall on behalf of the community,Ó said Mr Williams.
ÒIt has all taken far too long and we must now get things moving. We will start discussions to set up the administrative arrangements for the new committee as quickly as possible.Ó
The council has also decided that the Liphook Millennium Hall will be renamed the Liphook Millennium Centre to reflect the many community facilities within the building - including the halls, heritage centre, Canada Room, meeting rooms and police post.
The announcement was made two days after chairman of the trustees Mr Conroy left for holiday in France. He is believed to be unaware of the latest development at the hall.
The trustees are expected to hold a meeting next week when Mr Conroy returns, to discuss the development.