Burghfield Village Hall, owned and managed by Burghfield Parish Council, is a vital part of the local community, receiving a revenue of £30,000 for financial year 2019/2020.
Covid resulted in the closure of the hall in March 2020 with Central Government issuing strict guidelines and conditions upon which community buildings could reopen in July 2020. The hall did not meet these guidelines and remained closed. In order to adhere to the tougher guidelines, and future proof the hall, refurbishment works were required. The works commenced on the 7th of January 2021 for a period of 20 weeks. Upon completion, and lifting of all Covid restrictions, the hall re-opened on the 1st of September 2021.
Works/ improvements completed:
• 4 separate hireable spaces
• Improved access and lobby space with an enhanced entry system
• Improved layout and flow
• Energy efficient windows and doors
• Opening windows for improved ventilation as per Covid guidance
• Independent access to all hireable spaces with enhanced security for users
• Overall appearance and kerb appeal of building
• A tea point for the Longton Hall
• An accessible public toilet
The parish council resolved to allocate £111,000 from its Rolling Capital Fund for funding of the project. A further £49,800 was secured by way of grant funding from external sources. The remaining £100,000 was raised by Burghfield Parish Council obtaining a Public Works Loan (PWL) being repaid over 20 years. Interest rates at the time of securing the loan were significantly low, being fixed at an annual interest rate of 2.010% for the 20-year term, 0.35% lower than anticipated.
The loan repayments of £6,096.90 per annum (£508 per month) were to be funded by an increase in Council Tax to Burghfield Residents. Prudent budgeting, coupled with an increase in revenue from the hire of the village hall has resulted in no increase being applied to the precept for financial year 2022/2023.
The works have improved flexibility and accessibility of rooms, as well as providing an additional room for hire. Since opening on the 1st September 2021, revenue received for financial year 2021/2022 currently stands at £18,000 for 7 months trading, evidence of revenue returning to pre-covid levels. When comparing revenue received in March 2020 (£1,855) to March 2022 (£3981) an increase of 114% is evident.