STRAWSON COMMUNITY HALL - UPDATE
This letter has been sent to Horley Online to update everyone on progress in rebuilding the hall an to explain the current situation regarding funding and progress on this.
This is a long message but please read it all. I want to try to make sure that everyone knows our current situation regarding Strawson Hall.
Despite my previous optimism the rebuild of the hall is still experiencing delays and I want to inform everyone of the latest situation. I’ve circulated this to user groups and to others who have shown an interest in the fate of our project over the last couple of years. Recently a couple of users have asked me what the current situation is and who else can be contacted to get the project moving.
The good news is that we may be at the last hurdle but do await a decision from the County Accountant regarding Early Years Funding.
I feel it is important that everyone understands the process we have been going through so I’ve summarised it here:-
You are aware that we were approached by Surrey Early Years (EY) soon after the fire asking if we would consider building an extension for Preschool at their (County) expense. We agreed as a gesture of goodwill to the Preschool and for the children of Horley. Meetings took place and we were offered £70,000.
Two to three months went by before we were told the money had actually been withdrawn (cuts). However three weeks later we were told that the money may now be available again and the application would be re-submitted.
We continued to fundraise.
A meeting in September thrashed out further detail and information was given as to the situation regarding our fundraising and how we expected, with the cooperation of our contractor, to bring the project in on budget.
We were then offered £67,000 and I questioned why this was reduced and was told that a further application would be made for the balance. At this point we were told that the whole scheme still has to be ratified at County Hall. In December I was asked to submit a copy of our Bank Statement to show that the insurance money had been paid to us. This was supplied on 14th December. No response by 12th January despite emails and phone messages requesting an update.
One of our member groups then emailed County EY, Surrey County Councillor and our MP to raise concerns about the delays the user groups are experiencing.
The latest situation is that yesterday (19th January) I had several conversations with Surrey EY by phone and email. It transpires that the County Accountant was still waiting for more information about our fundraising. The EY had not asked us for this information and there was no indication of when they might. I have immediately sent them the details they need and we await the decision of the County Accountant.
We have enough money to do the job as long as the £70,000 is delivered
Remember EY came to us wanting our help
If the money is not forthcoming we are back to the drawing board to reduce the size of the building back to its original size and the extension will not be built.
There will need to be an additional planning application for the erection of any additional storage that the Preschool may need as we do not have permission for the old lean to store they used to use.
Frankly I am coming to the end of my tether with this and I would quite like my life back (do I want to say that ...well why not)
Should you feel inclined to add your support to the application by commenting on this the relevant email address is:
Tel: 01372 833824
Fax: 01372 833920
Our County Councillor Kay Hammond has also been asked to be copied into correspondence:
Thank you for reading