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Update on Freshford Village Memorial Hall Redevelopment plans, and Notice of an Extraordinary General Meeting to approve the conversion of Freshford Village Memorial Hall (registered charity 304545) to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)

posted 23 Jun 2017, 08:37 by Parish Council Communications
As many local residents will be aware, the trustees of Freshford Village Memorial Hall have been examining possibilities for the future development of the Hall building for many years. Hewitt Studios carried out a feasibility study in 2013, but unfortunately, the value of the proposed rebuild at over £2 million, has been unrealistic to finance in the current funding climate for community buildings, particularly outside areas of deprivation.

The trustees of Freshford Village Memorial Hall are now considering a phased redevelopment of the Hall including renovation of the existing main hall space, with purpose built annexes or extensions to provide accommodation for Freshford Pre-school and Freshford doctor's surgery. The Trustees feel a phased redevelopment will be more achievable as different aspects  of the project can be implemented as and when relevant funding becomes available. The first step in this process is to gain planning permission or a Community
 Right to Build Order for the plans for a redeveloped Hall. Planning permission or the equivalent Community Right to Build Order for communities with a Neighbourhood Plan such as Freshford and Limpley Stoke is a necessary prerequisite for all grant applications for capital works. 

A further initial step is to convert Freshford Village Memorial Hall registered charity 304545 to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). A CIO is a corporate body that has its own legal identity, which is separate from that of its trustees and members, meaning it can directly enter into contracts; employ staff; incur debts; own property; and sue and be sued. This will reduce the personal liability of the trustees prior to the Hall engaging in major contracts for the Development project. Further benefits of the CIO structure, include providing access to additional grants and social enterprise loans, which are only available to community organisations with an incorporated legal structure. The Hall trustees are currently aware of Community Buildings Project Support grant funding made available by the Department for Communities and Local Government, which would be suitable to fund the professional fees necessary to take the Hall's redevelopment plans to a Community Right to Build Order.

Notice of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to be held on Wednesday 26th July at 7.30pm to approve the conversion of Freshford Village Memorial Hall from an unincorporated association (registered charity 304545) to a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) is attached. Also attached is a background information paper explaining the benefits of converting to a CIO, and the formal notice that we must provide under the Charities Act 2011 for transferring land held on charitable trust to another organisation. Local residents are very welcome to attend the EGM, propose new trustees or raise any queries or concerns in advance with the Chair of Trustees, Claudia Towner on management@freshfordvillagehall.co.uk.

Further updates to the local community on Hall development plans will be provided over the coming months. At the moment we have a separate planning application in with Bath and NE Somerset Council to replace the failing felt roof to the main hall with insulated roof panels. Due to the increased frequency of roof leaks it is important that we proceed with this work as soon as possible, but we hope to have converted to a CIO before we appoint contractors to do the work. 

Claudia Towner, Chair of Trustees, Freshford Village Memorial Hall