Plans for a major £1.5m redevelopment of Highbridge’s Morland Community Hall to transform it into a new ‘community hub’ are revealed today.

The current building in Pearce Drive, off Morland Road, is to be replaced with the modern new facilities.

Speaking to, Cllr Roger Keen, the chairman of the trustees, said: “Morland Hall was only intended to be a temporary building and it has recently started showing its age, with a leaking roof, poor insulation and an aging decor.”

“We’ve looked at the costs of modernising the premises and making full repairs, but have decided that knocking it down and introducing a new, modern building is the best option for Highbridge’s community.”

“The proposed new building will be energy efficient and eco-friendly and will fully meet the demands of local community groups.”

“Our vision is to introduce a two-storey building that will include a large function area for conferences and events, a large modern kitchen, modern toilets and a lift to the second floor which will include a cafe looking out over the lake. There will also be a wing for the popular men’s shed group.”

“It will be a centre of excellence for the community and will be equipped with the latest technology including a pull-out stage for performances and a ceiling-mounted projector and large screen.”

“Our MP James Heappey has already given us his backing and many local people have expressed their support for the plans.”

“While the cost of the project will be between £1.3-£1.5 million, we are expecting to get funding from various grant funding schemes. We want to aim high and go for the very best facilities for Highbridge.”

Janet added: “It is a very exciting project. Things have been left to get shabby and run down over the years. A fresh start is needed and with Highbridge on the up, now is a great time to take this forward.”

They expect the proposals will take 2-3 years to deliver, with work already underway on the first stage of the project.

In the meantime, they are keen for users to come back to Morland Hall and show their support. The hall remains available for hire on 07503-576103.

A community cafe every Friday at 12-noon offers a full meal for £4 – comprising of a starter, a home-cooked main course and a dessert – when all are welcome.

A number of events are also being planned over the coming months, including a jumble sale on February 9th from 10am-2pm when all are welcome.

Pictured top: Janet Keen, Roger Keen and Jane MacPherson, who are leading the project, with the model of the development compiled by Ray Howlett.


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