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Land and £225,000 handed over to village for new hall

Following a referendum in Hermitage last year, the parish council decided to grant the village hall management committee a sum of money to build the hall.
Greenham Common Trust has indicated it may part-fund the project, with a further £140,000 coming from the committee itself.
The parish council has now acquired the village football pitch and associated land (pictured), off Pinewood Crescent, from West Berkshire Council as a site for the new facility, which is expected to cost approximately £1.3m.
The parish council has also been given £225,000 by the district council to maintain the land.
The chairman of Hermitage village hall committee, John Lawler, who is also a parish councillor, said: “The parish council will take on the land and will then hand over the freehold, or give the village hall committee a long lease, probably for 999 years.
“The village hall committee is currently undertaking the detailed design work for the hall. Tender documents will go out to prospective bidders, probably at the end of March or April, but that will only happen when the committee has secured a tenure on the land. We would hope to start building in early summer, so we could have a new hall by the following summer.”
Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the parish council, Ruth Cottingham, confirmed that the council has made enquiries to take out a public works loan from the Treasury to help with funding.
The play park and football pitch will remain on the land.
A spokeswoman for West Berkshire Council, Peta Stoddart-Crompton, said: “The sum of £225,000, being the commuted maintenance sum, will be transferred to the parish council on the completion of the transfer for future maintenance purposes, such as the care and upkeep of the football pitch to league standards and the care and maintenance of the woodland and wildlife areas.”

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