Village hall deal 'good news for all'

PUBLISHED: 10:59 02 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:18 26 October 2009

Villagers pictured protesting outside the civic centre back in December

Villagers pictured protesting outside the civic centre back in December

THE future of a village hall at the centre of a row over its rent and lease is a step closer to being secured. Welwyn Parish Council and site owners Welwyn Hatfield Council have agreed a new rental fee for Welwyn Civic Centre that will not hit villagers' pockets.

THE future of a village hall at the centre of a row over its rent and lease is a step closer to being secured.

Welwyn Parish Council and site owners Welwyn Hatfield Council have agreed a new rental fee for Welwyn Civic Centre that will not hit villagers' pockets.

The two authorities have now signed a new lease until 2014.

The deal will cost the parish council £30,000 a year.

But this fee will be totally offset by a borough council 'special expenses' payment. As such it will not cost villagers extra on their parish precept bills.

John Roper, parish council chairman, said it was "the best result we possibly could have got".

"We're very relieved that we have come to an amicable agreement," he said.

"We were very encouraged by the amount of support given to the cause and it is great we have not just rolled over like a pussy cat.

"The council has hung on for the best deal we could have struck.

"We are merely tenants and now we have to open talks and discuss the future of the centre beyond 2014."

There had originally been fears that the centre may have to close if the rent went up more than the parish could afford.

A borough council spokeswoman told the WHT that offsetting rent arrears against special expenses was "standard practice".

She said: "We are very pleased that an amicable solution has been achieved.

"We remain committed to reaching a similarly acceptable settlement when/if the lease is renewed in 2014.

"As a borough council we would want to do everything we can to assist in providing such facilities in the interests of its users and we are happy to consider the granting of a new lease for a term up to 2065.


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