Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Anger as Harpford Hall is put up for sale

PUBLISHED: 06:00 16 May 2014 | UPDATED: 09:34 16 May 2014

Harpford residents protest as the village hall may be sold off. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 1972-20-14AW

Harpford residents protest as the village hall may be sold off. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 1972-20-14AW

Archant

Residents and councillors have blasted church bosses for putting the disused Harpford Hall on the open market - jeopardising its future as a community asset.

According to Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council, the Diocese of Exeter has more than tripled the asking price of the venue after putting it up for sale.

The building is owned by the church but it has gone unused for the last 18 months, to the frustration of villagers and groups.

The council says it offered to step in and lease the property last year but, after realising renovation costs would exceed its budget, offered to buy the hall for £30,000.

Taxpayer cash totalling £12,000 and £10,000 in rural aid grants means £22,000 has been spent on the hall’s upkeep since 1987 according to the council.

But residents and councillors were left stunned after they said the church declined their offer and opted to sell the hall for a guide price of £97,000.

Resident Val Ranger, who also sits on the parish council, said: “We are bewildered why the hall has been taken away without wider consultation.”

A parish council spokesman said the decision was a ‘great shame’, and such a ‘high-handed attitude’ from a Christian organisation was a ‘disaster’.

A Diocesan spokesman said they have ‘been working with the local community for the past two years’ to try and ‘find a way forward for Harpford Hall’.

The spokesman added: “In 2012, the parish council was offered the hall at a fraction of the price it would fetch on the open market when sold with unrestricted use, and also offered the lease of the hall at a very low rate to enable it to be kept as a community resource.

“After initially wanting to move forward to lease the hall, the parish council withdrew from this in February this year.

“As the church in Harpford has said it has no use for the hall, the Diocese has been obliged to place it on the open market.”

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 18:00

A project seeking to place up to 57 new blue plaques in Sidmouth is seeking support from owners of interesting buildings.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:09

A short film telling the story Sidmouth’s last fishing family’s ‘passion, loss and resilience’ got regional exposure on BBC One and is still available online.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:43

Emergency services were called to a crash near Ottery St Mary today (Friday).

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30

Council bosses will soon write to Sidmouth residents and businesses to ask if they will help to fundraise the £3.3million needed to pay for much-needed sea defences.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:11

Our Devon quiz is back for another round!

Read more
Yesterday, 11:33

Firefighters from Ottery St Mary were on scene for nearly an hour after a vehicle caught fire on the B3180.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:58

South West Water has completed a £5million project to construct a new wastewater treatment works near Ottery.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30

A Sid Valley Rotarian will join 90 volunteers from clubs across Great Britain and Ireland to immunise 170million Indian children against polio in a 
single day.

Read more
Thu, 17:30

A popular member of staff is taking over as front of house manager at Tickety-Boo.

Read more
Thu, 08:45

Devon and Cornwall residents are being polled on whether they would pay another £12 a year to ‘protect frontline policing’.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications