Town wants more support for hall

CAMPAIGNERS in Ramsey are calling for more support to help get a community hall built in the town. There have been a number of proposals to provide Ramsey with a new hall, but the plans have been left in limbo , according to a councillor. The campaigner

CAMPAIGNERS in Ramsey are calling for more support to help get a community hall built in the town.

There have been a number of proposals to provide Ramsey with a new hall, but the plans have been left "in limbo", according to a councillor.

The campaigners also feel they have been dealt another blow after a grant of £25,000 for a community hall was given - not to Ramsey which has no hall - but to Ramsey St Mary's which has just sold one.

The grant was from Huntingdonshire District Council for a community room at Ashbeach St Mary's Primary School.


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Those behind the push for a community hall in Ramsey say they also applied to HDC for cash two years ago and, although the council has agreed to help in principle, how much money and when they will get it has never been detailed.

Ramsey district and town councillor Ray Powell told The Hunts Post: "People in the town are saying: 'What have we done to be overlooked yet again?'"

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For years, the people of Ramsey have been told they will get a community hall if, and when, Tesco builds a new store in the town. The hall would form part of the planning agreement. However, deputy mayor, Cllr Neil Dick, said the Tesco plan was "absolutely stalled".

He said the promise of community facilities was in "two types of limbo" as the Luminus Group's redevelopment of the former Ramsey Grand cinema has also been stalled by planning delays. This plan would involve community meeting rooms.

Cllr Dick said that if neither plan went ahead, paying for a hall out of the rates was a third option but this would put up Council Tax "a fair chunk".

Cllr Powell added: "I walked through the town on Saturday night and there were loads of young people just milling about. They need somewhere to go on a Saturday night."

Philip Mellor, chairman of the Ramsey Community Hall Trust, set up five years ago and about to apply for charitable status, said: "We have raised £23,000, mostly from second-hand stalls, but we probably need about three quarters of a million.

"It's annoying because Ramsey St Mary's has already got a village hall, which they have closed down. It doesn't seem right when we have been working so hard."

Dan Smith, community manager at HDC, said providing a community hall for Ramsey was the responsibility of Ramsey Town Council.

He said: "The town council should see it as a priority for the people of Ramsey. This should be something the town council should value and set a precept for."

He said HDC was trying to help to provide a hall but the money needed to be raised by the town. He said: "We have had several meetings with the community hall committee and even given them someone to help them with a business plan."

He added: "The old St Mary's Hall was dilapidated and not fit for use so they sold it and they have an asset in trust amounting to six figures."

Andy Sayer, a governor of Ashbeach St Mary's School, said: "We are trying to raise £250,000 for a community space in the village. The only money raised so far is £25,000 from the district council which is pledged subject to their criteria being met. Other funding is being sought by The Ashbeach Playgroup through the national lottery funds, and, I believe, Biffa Waste.

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