At last, we are getting closer to starting the New Village Hall development which includes the re orientation of the football pitch. As I write, the second phase of the archaeological investigation is due to start on site on 20th February. Following the conclusion of the site work, which will take approximately three weeks, a report is prepared for submission to KCC and once approved, we would have discharged the two pre construction conditions imposed with the planning approval.

The first phase of our development is to carry out the necessary ground works to form the new football pitch which it is hoped will commence in April. This involves a considerable  amount of excavation and distributing excess spoil on part of the land  adjacent to the allotments which is owned by the parish council.

During this work, Harrow Meadow will be closed to the public for safety reasons and each gate will be padlocked. It will also be necessary to close the play area for the period that the work is being carried out. Some temporary fencing will be in place and the public are asked to respect that this is there for their safety.

The development committee meets once a month to keep track of the planning conditions, identify any legal matters that need to be addressed and liaise with our consultant quantity surveyor and the likely building contractor. Also, at these meetings a report is presented from a member of the fund-raising committee which identifies what further grant applications can be made and to discuss what other fund-raising events can be arranged.

During 2022, at least 14 different events were held and when combined with the lottery and donations a total of £25,000 was raised. You should be aware that a ‘Fund Raising’ thermometer has been erected on the village hall sign board showing the funds raised to date and our target. At the time of writing this article, funds held by the Hall Trustees plus monies pledged by the parish council amounts to £470k and when combined with the CIL grant received from Sevenoaks’ Council and from the expected sale of the existing hall site, amounts to £1.23m and our target is £2m.

We would like more individuals and groups to get more involved with the project and help raise funds. To this end, the committee are proposing to have a power point presentation at the parish council’s APM to be held on Friday 31st March in the village hall where light refreshments will be served and committee members will be on hand to answer your questions.

Alan Cooke

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