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

06:00 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.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sidmouth Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sidmouth Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sidmouth Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 19:37

Proposed cuts to community recycling groups could ‘threaten the existence’ of a popular Ottery service, fear civic leaders, writes Clarissa Place.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:32

Community gathering to discuss proposals that would see town lose inpatient bed unit

Read more
Yesterday, 12:08

Firefighters were called to Harcombe after reports of a tractor caught fire.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:40

District councillors have defied officer advice and refused plans for a 113-apartment retirement community on the site of their current Knowle HQ.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:48

Fire crews from Sidmouth were called to the scene.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:30

The county council is calling for a pause to planned hospital cuts across Devon.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:07

Replenishment work to add ‘blanket of protection’ for town in response to concerns

Read more
Thu, 17:37

Festive cheer filled the air in Ottery St Mary as crowds gathered for the town’s annual Christmas lights switch-on and late-night shopping event.

Read more
Thu, 17:00

Traders decked the streets and welcomed in shoppers with mince pies and mulled wine as late-night shopping returned to Sidmouth.

Read more
Thu, 16:30

Reported crime in Sidmouth was down marginally last month compared to November 2015.

Read more

Local Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 8°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

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications