Hall lot of hope - 61 years on

PUBLISHED: 07:53 27 January 2006 | UPDATED: 21:39 28 May 2010

A NEW site could soon be earmarked for a village hall in Eastrea - 61 years after a committee was formed to steer the project to success. Over the last half-century three sites have been identified but each time villagers have had to face disappointment.

A NEW site could soon be earmarked for a village hall in Eastrea - 61 years after a committee was formed to steer the project to success.

Over the last half-century three sites have been identified but each time villagers have had to face disappointment.

Now villagers are waiting to hear from Fenland District Council, the body responsible for coming up with possible sites. A council spokesman said: "If we have any re-confirmation of interest in the village hall we will help them find suitable land." The council had had no contact with villagers for 18 months.

Brian Ford, chairman of Eastrea Village Hall Foundation, says the process has been frustrating.

Two years ago land to the east of the village, south of Coates Road, was identified for the hall. Planning permission was granted to the Village Hall Foundation, subject to agreement between the landowner and the council. Villagers unveiled plans for the state-of-the-art £500,000 hall. But, at the 11th hour, the owner withdrew the land.

In the 1960s it was hoped to build a hall on the site of the former Windmill pub. During the 1990s a site was offered to the south-west of the village at Thornham Way, but that site remained a public open space.

A committee for raising funds towards a hall was started by a Miss Tinkler who lived in a thatched cottage in Mayfield Road. It began work in 1945 and villagers have raised more than £60,000 towards the £500,000 project.

Mr Ford said: "The last time we were thrilled and then to discover the land had been withdrawn was the ultimate frustration."

When a site has been identified by the council, Mr Ford says a new executive board will handle the project.

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