Nick Herbert MP has visited the new Ashurst Village Hall as it nears completion after a long campaign to rebuild and facilitate it, but £45,000 still needs to be raised.
The Arundel and South Downs MP struck the first blow in the demolition of the old building in July 2012. Since then Ashurst villagers have raised almost £360,000 to construct a new hall.
The former village hall was over a century old and in a poor state of repair, so it was decided that a brand new building, with the latest equipment and facilities, was needed.
The attractive new flint and brick building includes a stage, meeting room and catering facilities.
The new hall is nearly complete but still needs flooring, decoration and a ramp for wheelchair access. The village needs to raise another £45,000 to complete the work.
Chris Jesse, Chairman of the Ashurst Village Hall Committee said: “We were delighted to show Nick Herbert what we have achieved since his last visit.
“We still need more money to complete and actually open the hall, so we are embarking on one final push to try and make this a reality as soon as possible. We hope to open the doors by September at the latest.”
Following his visit, Mr Herbert said: “Having struck the first blow to demolish the old village hall it was a real pleasure to return and see its very smart replacement.
“The Committee have done incredibly well to raise a large sum of money for their new village hall, and I hope that they will now be able to find the remaining sum so that the building can be completed and opened as soon as possible.”
A new village hall to replace the existing one in Ashurst got the go-ahead from Horsham District Council planners in October 2011.
At the time, eight letters of objection were received concerning the building being out of keeping in terms of height, appearance and layout, over development of the small site, the car park and children’s play area being close to the road, overshadowing of neighbouring properties and light pollution affecting wildlife.
In July 2013 villagers campaigned to raise money to kit out the village hall. BBC Radio 4 also visited the site.
To help the community raise funds, visit the ‘Ashurst village West Sussex’ page on Facebook.