Monxton and Amport are to receive a new village hall after plans were approved by Test Valley Borough Council.

The current village hall, built in the mid-1960s, was described by one resident as “an awful place to be,” while another called it “sad and dilapidated.” Under the plans, it will be demolished to make way for the new hall.

Plans show the new building will be slightly larger than the original, and able to be reconfigured to suit a range of events, with the hall space divided up by folding doors. Toilets and a kitchen will support activities, while the whole building will be wheelchair accessible.

There have been plans to rejuvenate the hall for a number of years, with various plans having come and gone. Planning permission to renovate the hall was granted in 2016, but the estimate of £350,000 was felt to be “a step too far” by the parish council. Subsequent attempts involving further renovation projects, and a new hall near the former Black Swan pub, also fell through.

Now, since the introduction of Community Infrastructure Levies, or CIL money, the council hope that in addition to local and parish funds, the new hall will be viable, with hopes to begin work next year.

Councillor Hugh Corroon, who is responsible for the village hall, told the Advertiser that the council were “very excited that it’s been approved.”

“[The current village hall] is not much to look at,” he said. “It really needed an upgrade.”

He said that the village should be a “pretty nice place” for villagers to hold a variety of events, including film and sport night.

He continued: “One of the important things about the village hall is that with the loss of the pub, the village is looking for a soul. Ideally, we’d get some version of the pub back at some stage, but you need to have a bit of both to have a functioning village atmosphere. Then you can really look forward to a more dynamic village atmosphere.”

Comments on the plans from residents have varied in the past. Nicola Dunning said: “The rebuild plans look great and will give us a multifunctional space that will be enjoyable for us all to spend time in. At the moment, with the Black Swan closed and our village hall feeling so dilapidated, our village is lacking a heart.”

David Eaglesham, meanwhile, said that a “modern building could not be more out of character” with the surrounding area, and raised concerns about “noise and disturbance” for those living nearby.

The parish council will now be getting quotes for the building work, and begin the process of putting a funding proposal together.