NEW ERA: Historic hall a step closer to reopening

St Chad's Church Hall
St Chad's Church Hall

An historic building is a step closer to reopening as the group that formed to save it from ruin prepares to open its doors for the first time in almost two years.

Vicarage Park Community Group is hoping to invite a handful of people inside the former St Chad’s Church Hall, in Poulton, once it has collected the keys for the building which closed in 2013 after it fell into disrepair and was threatened with demolition.

The charity said its hard work over the last 18 months is starting to pay off now it has signed the paperwork to take control of the Vicarage Road building, with the lease expected to start on Tuesday.

To celebrate, Vin Hamer, Chapel Street Brewhouse brewmaster and licensee of the Thatched House pub, has brewed a special beer, which will be served up at a fund-raising event in Vicarage Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

On the day, VPCC trustee Chris Gannon said he hopes to give people a glimpse of the hall in its current state and show off some of their plans for its restoration.

He added: “It has taken 18 months but we have finally achieved it.”

The celebration in the park will also mark the 90th birthday of the building, which was built in 1925 using a pre-fabricated steel and timber frame that was used all around the world at the time.

Mr Gannon said: “This is probably one of the few remaining buildings that were built using this system.”

VPCC, backed by a £3,500 grant from Wyre Council, aims to raise enough money to restore the church hall to its former glory over the next two years – but it will not become clear how much that will cost until after it has taken over the 35-year lease.

The hall tower leans to one side and will need underpinning. Faced with mounting repair costs, the parochial church council closed the building in November 2013.

VPCC was formed to save the hall in January 2014 and was granted charity status in August the same year.

Trustee Sarah Welsh said: “This will be a very special day for us as it marks the successful culmination of many months of complex negotiations to secure the hall’s future.” The event on Monday will run from 11am until 4pm at Vicarage Park and will feature live entertainment. The winner of a grand prize draw will be presented on the day by Sid Little.