COMMITTEE members of a village hall are excited after Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) voted to award £245,000 to fund its extension.

As previously reported, Picket Piece Village Hall secured the much-needed funding following a joint approach between its committee and TVBC councillors.

The council voted to provide the funding in a meeting on Wednesday, April 22.

The first village hall was built in Picket Piece in 1946, and rebuilt in 1985 when there were 90 homes in the village, whereas now there are around 1,000, with plans for more.

READ MORE: Councillors approve allocation of Community Infrastructure Levy funding

The committee said the hall is now in desperate need of an upgrade and expansion in order to be able to service the needs of the growing new community and to support the needs of today’s society.

As a result, the hall committee has been working with architects, Barclay & Philips and TVBC for the past few years to determine the appropriate expansion and upgrade of existing facilities.

The available funding provided by the developers left the hall a long way short of being able to complete the extension. 

So after consultation with the community, they applied for additional funding through CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) and CAF (Community Asset Fund) programmes through TVBC.

CIL is a contribution that developers make to improve the local infrastructure across Test Valley. It is different to Section 106 funding, which is for specific named purposes only.

The works are being undertaken by RV Dart & Son (Builders) Ltd and are planned to be completed by the middle of October and include.

The expansion includes:

  • An extension to the rear;

  • Kitchen and toilet upgrades, including the addition of a specific disabled WC;

  • New bar area;

  • Complete new flooring throughout – the existing specialised dance floor in the main hall will be refurbished;

  • Sound insulation.

  • Installing an air source pump;

  • Solar panels installed;

  • Installation of a proper pathway and lighting on the path from Walworth Road to Locksbridge Park; and

  • Addition of a new car park at the rear of the hall to almost treble the number of available spaces.

Simon Potter, one of the hall trustees and chairman of the sports and social club said: “We are delighted that after a lot of work over a number of years, we are finally in a position to be able to start this project and to bring a fresh new, expanded and efficient set of facilities to the people of Picket Piece."

Andover Downlands councillor Nick Lodge said: “It has been a pleasure to work together with the hall committee and TVBC officers to secure this funding to improve this crucial facility for our village. We have expanded hugely and it is only right that developer contributions are reinvested to improve our amenities here. This will bring the hall up to modern standards and be a real focal point for the community.”