Thu, 11 Apr 2019
Thatcham’s historic parish hall faces an uncertain future.
The hall, in Chapel Street, was built in 1907 and bequeathed to the people of Thatcham.
However, the community building may be facing closure unless more hirers and additional income can be secured.
Parish hall trustees treasurer David Weller, said: “We lost a big hirer, which was Apple Tree Pre-School.
“They closed in July and we lost £9,000 a year straight away, that’s quite a chunk.”
Mr Weller said that the situation was made harder because of the wealth of other buildings available for hire, including community halls and churches.
He added that trustees will have to call a public meeting to decide on the building’s future.
“We need to come up with the money or another idea to raise funds,” Mr Weller said.
“It’s just sad. We opened in 1907, the hall being bequeathed to the community of Thatcham.
“It’s very sad.
“It was a difficult meeting for us when we decided to do this, but we have to be realistic.
“You can’t run a business if you have not got any money.”
Ideas for a village hall in Thatcham were put forward in 1903 by Miss AL Henry, the third daughter of John Henry of Colthrop Mill.
Plans were made for a building to accommodate 200 people for concerts and other events and around £350 was raised to build it.
The parish hall was built by Mr W Child of Thatcham and was opened on April 10, 1907, by Mrs Benyon, the wife of the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire.
Speaking at a recent Thatcham Town Council meeting, leader Jason Collis (Con, Thatcham North) said: “The parish hall has been looking at its future for some time and has wanted to explore it by a public meeting, which will happen in a few months time to dispense of the building and its assets.
“We are either trustees for holding the land, or the original owners, and the charity is there to manage the building, so that needs to be clarified.
“Unless someone steps forward and volunteers to run the committee or put up a bit of money to maintain it, its future as aparish hall is uncertain.”