Parish rooms reprieve for community groups

By Mark Pritchett in Local People

COMMUNITY groups look set to be able to carry on using Sampford Arundel Parish Rooms after the existing lease expires in December next year.

The village table tennis club, women’s institute, senior citizens and parish council, who all regularly meet there, feared the loss of the amenity.

At a parish council meeting chairman Janet Lloyd said leaseholders Nick and David Tredwin were concerned the building was underused. But at a meeting last week, which about 45 people attended, they agreed that the parish rooms committee could negotiate for a five-ten year extension to the 99-year lease on condition a working party is set up to look at what happens after that time.

The meeting discussed building on the village green as an alternative to the parish rooms but any construction would take over the area and cost £100,000-£150,000.

It also discussed using the village church but some felt it was not suitable for disabled access and questions were raised about whether it could provide toilet facilities.

Possible alternative venues the Beambridge Inn and The Blue Ball are on the periphery of the village.

Mrs Lloyd said the village school used to use the parish rooms for PE lessons but now pupils are bussed into Wellington sports centre to do activities there.

Mrs Lloyd said: “The outcome was a good one in the end for the village but we have to think long-term for the future. The parish rooms are at the centre of the village – we don’t have a shop anymore – and they are a focal point.

“They are probably the only place in the village that can be used for various functions, including Fete Day for the fete and flower show when the parish rooms are set out with flowers, crafts and cakes.”

The parish of Sampford Arundel takes

in Sampford Arundel and the hamlets of Sampford Moor and Whiteball. It has a seven-mile boundary and a population of about 320.

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