Fri, 25 Sept 2020
PAMBER Heath War Memorial Hall is in line for a significant upgrade after Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council unveiled plans to improve infrastructure across North Hampshire.
Using the council’s Local Infrastructure Fund, a total of up to £844,200 will go towards 11 projects across the borough, including up to £200,000 to expand and upgrade the existing facilities at the hall to meet rising demand.
The borough council funding is part of a £1m long-term project to upgrade the hall and its surroundings, making it wheelchair accessible and enabling more community groups to use it.
A second storey will be added, including a lift for disabled people, increased disabled parking spaces and disabled adult changing facilities, while the main hall will have a fixed stage installed to allow the venue to hold more theatre evenings, concerts and amateur dramatic events.
Significantly, the extra space will allow Impstone Pre-school to use the facility on a daily basis, making childcare easier for parents, while more sports clubs will be able to use the venue.
Hall treasurer Lynda Parker-Schwarz said: “We’re very excited about our extension and upgrade plans. It will make a real difference to our local residents and to our much wider catchment area.
“We’re oversubscribed generally, but it’s trying to fit in all the clubs that want to use the hall and that’s the biggest benefit to the community.
“We want changing facilities at the back of the building, which will make better use of our beautiful grounds around the hall.
“We have clubs that do forest running and other clubs that use the outside area and it will enable better use of that outside area for sports youth clubs.”
A major part of the hall’s plan is to add a second storey to the building and make the roof inaccessible to vandals, who in recent months have targeted the building, jumping on the roof and breaking the CCTV cameras.
On the vandalism, Ms Parker-Schwarz said: “I have to say that the local people have been very helpful.
“The last time there was suspicious people around the hall the local people came out and used social media to raise attention and get people to go out and see what’s going on.
“We’ve since installed much better CCTV, so we’ve done what we can.
“Part of the reason to changing the hall is to change the flat roof because vandals can usually climb on it.
“That will make the roof not accessible anymore.”
The memorial hall is now seeking additional funding from various sources, including via The Good Exchange.
Elsewhere in the borough, £84,800 has been allocated to upgrade the electric equipment and the drainage of the on-site sports pitches at the Fieldgate Centre in Kingsclere and up to £9,200 will go towards improving access to a new all-weather path in Woolton Hill.
Since January 2014, the Local Infrastructure Fund has allocated a total of £7.1m to support 129 community projects across the borough.
Cabinet member for communities, culture and partnerships Simon Bound said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on community spirit across the borough and this investment in our communities will help to ensure they continue to thrive.
“This wide range of much-needed improvements schemes will have a lasting impact and help encourage more people to take part in activities in the heart of their community.”