Deadline for hall on borrowed time
Costs to repair centre assessed at £765,000
Maidstone council will decide in December what to do about the only “village hall” it owns in the borough.
Heather House in Bicknor Road, Park Wood, has been living on borrowed time since the end of last year, when officers ordered its closure after serious problems emerged with the building.
A campaign by the Park Wood Residents Association and ward councillor Matt Burton (Con) - which included a 758-signature petition - succeeded in persuading the council to carry out emergency repairs. This allowed the community centre to re-open in April while investigations were carried out into its future.
Members of the communities, housing and environment committee heard an independent survey assessed the repairs needed.
It found problems with the heating boiler, roof, cladding, doors and windows and estimated to bring the building back into good enough repair to last another 15 years would cost £765,000.
Cllr Burton said the report was “very painful reading.”
Cllr Daniel Rose (Con) said: “Heather House is the only village hall Maidstone council owns. We have a responsibility to the people of Park Wood who really need something like this.
The council will be presented with a further report in December outlining options for the potential demolition of the hall and its replacement with a new community centre, part-funded by selling land for housing, as an alternative to repairs. But there was a warning the housing wouldn’t generate major sums.
Heather House in Park Wood faces an uncertain future