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Appeal in pipeline to build new village hall in Little London

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Hall trustees to continue battle opposing proposals

APPLICANTS who submitted plans for a new village hall in Little London have vowed to appeal after their proposal was recently thrown out.

Proposals for outline planning permission for land in countryside at Berry Court Farm, New Road, included the construction of four houses, two bungalows and a village hall with associated parking, landscaping and access.

Submitted by David Snook – a Pamber parish councillor – and his wife Jacqueline, the proposals were recently recommended for refusal by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council planners, who said there was an existing, older village hall and that two halls were unsustainable.

Borough councillors then voted to back the recommendation to refuse, by a narrow margin of five in favour and four against.

Joint applicants Mr and Mrs Snook have since said they intend to appeal.

Mrs Snook, a Pamber villager of four decades, said she joined the management committee of St Stephen’s Village Hall in 1987 when hall funds were low.

During previous years, when she and her husband, the former hall chairman had served on the committee, fundraising included an annual dance at the Snooks’ barn, at Berry Court Farm, raising more than £8,000.

“We once tried to promote a day nursery, but with no land for outdoor play, and the hall’s close proximity to the road, it was rejected as a suitable venue,” said Mrs Snook.

The hall suffered from dry rot and there was a lack of roof or wall insulation, so Mrs Snook said she thought a new hall was a good prospect.

She said: “As we could not afford to fund the whole project ourselves, we proposed a small residential development where the income from the sale of the land would generate sufficient funds to build a purpose-built village hall set in its own grounds and car park.”

The new hall and the land would then be gifted to the parish council in perpetuity.

Chairman of St Stephen’s Village Hall committee, Gary Ellis, said the battle to oppose the proposals would go on.

He pointed out that villagers had expressed their opinions in a public consultation on the issue. A total of 167 responses had been received, of which 121 were against the provision of a new hall.

“Of course we will continue to fight this application on the grounds of public opinion as expressed in the consultation,” said Mr Ellis.

Despite the result of the public consultation, he said Pamber Parish Council voted not to object to the proposals.

Mr Ellis said borough council development policies should be applied, pointing out Mr Snook was on the Pamber Parish Council south ward planning committee.

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