February 2016 Update on the Angela Cobbold Hall & Café Hub Project
The PCC would like to thank everyone for their ongoing concern and care for All Saint’s Church and the Angela Cobbold Hall. It wants to reassure the community that everything is being done to ensure that the spiritual and social needs of the parish are met for many years to come.
We are a small parish, with no central funding. We therefore rely entirely on church collections and grant applications to cover the costs of the church and hall. We are currently running at an annual deficit of £5,000 (with only limited reserves). In addition you will be aware that there are urgent roof repairs to the church in the region of £28,000 and repairs to the hall estimated at between £20-25,000. Our first responsibility has to be to safeguard the church, otherwise both the church and the hall will have to close.
Having listened to advice from the Diocese and the personal views of those from the local community at the Open Meeting and through on-going correspondence, we have sadly concluded that without a very generous donation to cover not only the repair of the Hall and the Church, but also their respective upkeep well into the future, we have no choice but to sell the hall. The Cobbold family have confirmed that whilst they have no legal jurisdiction over the hall, they would prefer that the hall be sold and the proceeds used to fund a community hub within the church, rather than spend more money on the existing building. Bealings School are keen for us to provide a flexible space within the church building which they can use on a regular basis.
The Diocese likewise have advised that it is not prudent for the church to keep the hall, given the PCC’s precarious financial position. The Diocesan surveyor has recently carried out an assessment of the hall and looked at the different options available to the PCC. Its recommendation is that the PCC sell the hall with planning permission for a residential dwelling. An architect has begun to prepare the site for sale at no cost to the church. This process is likely to take six months and will of course include the usual public consultations and council approval.
This decision was not taken lightly and at this point we do not have a better alternative. If one should appear, the plans may be adjusted according to any additional resources that may be forthcoming. You are most welcome to contact us at anytime with any concerns or suggestions and we thank you again for your understanding at this very difficult time.
Little Bealings PCC