A new Village Hall for East Stratton

Residents from East Stratton and the surrounding area have been celebrating the opening of the village’s brand new community hall.

The chairman of Micheldever parish council, William Helen, officially opened the new building last Friday.

Work on the new hall, which is on Church Bank Road, started in April 2009 after many years of planning and fundraising. The new building is an energy efficient, multipurpose community facility that has been designed to meet a wide range of local needs.

The scheme cost in the region of £265,000, with Winchester City Council providing £60,000 in the form of a grant. Locally raised funds and donations amounted to £40,000, Hampshire County Council awarded a grant of £12,500, and Micheldever Parish Council provided £30,000. The Rural Development Programme for England awarded a grant of £11,679, the Open Space Fund contributed £21,000, and The Veolia Environmental Trust awarded a grant of £50,500 through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Brian Wallis, Chair of East Stratton Village Hall Management Committee, said “After years of planning and fundraising, the new hall has exceeded our expectations and is a fantastic achievement for this small voluntary committee. Our thanks go to all those who have generously supported the project and to those organisations who have granted funds to enable us to realise the vision for a multi purpose facility to benefit the whole community.’

The original village hall had served the local community well, but time and the elements had taken their toll on its corrugated-iron structure, and the fabric of the building was at the end of its useful life. It was poorly insulated, inefficient to heat, and had no toilets or disabled access facilities.

The new environmentally friendly building has an energy saving heating system, insulation that exceeds current Building Regulations by 20%, and low energy lighting. The new building also includes toilets, access for people with disabilities, a baby changing facility, a meeting room, a fully fitted kitchen, and a veranda.

William Helen, Chairman of Micheldever Parish Council, praised the Hall Committee for their determination and commitment to see this community project to completion. He said “We often wonder what legacy we will leave our children, and this community has pulled together to build a facility that will be appreciated and used by many generations to come.”

Ken Brown, Fieldfare LEADER Programme Manager at Winchester City Council, added: “Environmental sustainability is one of the important aspects that the Local Action Group considers when awarding grants. This project demonstrates a commitment to energy efficiency and it has made full use of the support that the City Council was able to offer them.”