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Harpford residents protest as the village hall may be sold off. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 1982-20-14AW

Harpford hall sale: community asked for ideas

Friday, May 30, 2014
10.00 AM

A Harpford resident has urged fellow villagers to submit ideas on how best they should act after their beloved community hall was put up for sale.

Val Ranger, of Lower Way, also sits on Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council, and has questioned the Diocese of Exeter after church officials placed Harpford Hall on the open market.

Commanding a guide price of £97,000, the hall has been unused for the past 19 months.

Val has appealed for Harpford residents, and the wider community in Newton Poppleford and other parishes, to step forward to get their voices heard. She also expressed her fears about the ongoing issue with the hall, which she thinks is putting a ‘strain’ on the relationship between the church and villagers.

“I am trying to get a meeting together for residents,” said Val. “But the venue is the problem, as some people are not that mobile.

“I will have to see if we can gather in the church, which rather proves the point that we need a communal gathering place.”

Val also said that some supporters of the church in the village are becoming ‘increasingly angry’ with the attitude of the Diocese in light of the hall wrangle.

“This hall issue needs to be resolved before things escalate further,” she added.

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’.

They added: “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.”

Anyone who wishes to submit ideas to Val can do so by emailing her at vranger@btinternet.com