Friday, 6 June 2008

Garston Urban Village Hall

This is the text of a letter which started going out yesterday to people living near the Village Hall on Banks Road. I'm posting it here because I suspect there are people who will be interested but who don't live in the immediate area. I have taken off the officers' contact details as it is probably not fair on them - but if anyone wants me to pass on e mail enquiries, please e mail me at my council e mail which is and I will pass it on.

Dear Resident,

Garston Urban Village Hall, Banks Road, L19

Following the public meeting last night, I would like to explain certain issues that I understand were raised. Some important principles need to be clearly understood:

 Liverpool City Council has no intention of taking over the Village Hall but we are willing to step in to run the facility on a short term basis while a reconstituted Trust is created;

 The building is already owned the Garston Urban Village Hall Trust, it has been since it was built;

 The City Council’s intention is that a new Trust will still own the building;

 The Garston Urban Village Hall Trust has managed the building to date;

 It is absurd to suggest that the Hall would be demolished to provide funds for the City Council, this will not happen;

 The City Council has been asked to pay the outstanding electricity bills but was not party to incurring them;

 The City Council cannot be expected to pay debts incurred by other organisations when they have overspent, even charitable trusts. The electricity bill is a small part of the current financial problems at the Hall.

The City Council is committed to keep the Hall open and I want you to be as well informed as possible about the current position.

Please see overleaf

The City Council has, for some months, been working with the Village Hall Company, who currently manage the Hall, to try to develop a plan that will improve the facilities offered and will support the Hall for many years to come. We are still working towards these improvements but there are operational and financial difficulties that we are not in a position to overcome without change.

The City Council has offered to step in and keep services running until a new long term management arrangement can be established and put in place. We are committed to do this but it can only happen with the agreement of the Village Hall Company. This agreement must be in place before Friday 6 June 2008 because notice has been given by the power company that it will disconnect the electricity from the Village Hall on that day.

The City Council has twice managed to have disconnection postponed but we will not be able to do that again this week. If the power is disconnected, the Hall would have to temporarily close and this what we want to avoid.

If we can agree in time to the City Council taking up temporary management, then we aim to avoid disruption to the activities that take place at the Hall and the service provided by the GP surgery and Pharmacy. We also intend to hand over the management of the Village Hall to a newly created organisation that incorporates community members as soon as that can be achieved. In coming weeks, we plan to fully consult across the community about the best way to take this forward.

Garston Urban Village Hall provides a valuable local service for the Garston area and the City Council is fully committed to work with partners to secure a long term future for the facility. We are working hard to achieve the best possible outcome for local residents and we welcome your support.