Grant Aid for Refurbishment of the Church Hall

Outside the Church Hall on Village Produce Show Day, September 2011


The CEF fund has been created: “…… to add benefit over and above committed mitigation and statutory compensation to communities along the route that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of Phase One of HS2 from London to West Midlands.” Communities coming into that category are invited to make applications for grant funding of up to £75,000, which is to be targeted at the voluntary/community sector, including residents’ associations, constituted community groups and so on. Possible uses of the grant funding includes the provision of enhanced or new community facilities.

Sulgrave evidently qualifies as a village which will be “demonstrably disrupted” by the construction works and which could certainly find a use for funds to the benefit of the community. With this in mind, an application for funds to improve the Church Hall is being made by Ingram Lloyd on behalf of the Parochial Church Council (the building being in Church ownership) and Councillor Anna Faure on behalf of the Parish Council. A village meeting to discuss this matter was held in the Church Hall on Thursday 12th April.

Councillor Anna Faure reports on this meeting as follows:

The hall was previously used as part of the Vicar’s grounds – dating back to the Georgian times. Subsequently, additional Victorian additions made (red brick). Further modifications (of no architectural significance) are the entrance hall and kitchen. However, the planners don’t want us to touch this.

Over the past 6 months we have been exploring potential opportunities for the site, including alternative options for relocating the hall and have concluded that this option is not viable due to a) if current premises sold, all proceeds would go to the Diocese and therefore nothing returned to the village, and b) other suggested sites were also no longer suitable (Madame’s Close – green space and area adjacent to Towrise unsuitable).

Whilst most of us would welcome a brand-new state of the art village hall, we’ve had to recognise that from a pragmatic point of view and taking into consideration the limitations imposed upon us, this is not viable.

So, bearing this in mind, we sought pre-planning advice on refurbishment both

from detailed consultation at Towcester with planning and conservation officers, and from seeking feedback from the village. We did this by way of a survey and an open forum held on 12 April 2018. We were tremendously appreciative of the turn out, which showed a keen interest in our efforts so far and that the majority of the community is in favour of the grant application and approach.

Currently the PCC is the leaseholder of the hall. For the purposes of the grant, it is in the village’s best interest for the PCC to apply for the grant as it fulfils a significant number of the requirements of the application. The PCC and PC are in accordance with this arrangement. Subsequently, if in the event of a successful award of grant, the PC will join the PCC as joint lease holders and therefore co-tenants.

The Diocese has agreed that the current lease will be extended for 30 years. There will be a new rent to pay – as yet not set – however, it is planned to set this as low as possible.

The Survey results

We circulated a survey to residents and have had a very positive response. The survey asked nine questions, through which we wanted to demonstrate that we’d consulted the views of the village.

There are roughly 250 households in the village, and we have had in excess of 100 responses including children under the age of 11.


Key areas for refurbishment?

83% felt that the hall would be of benefit to the village community from being refurbished

Toilets, heating, damp , lighting, heating, ambience were the most favoured improvements.

More news next month

Anna Faure


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