Answers wanted on memorial hall issues

Belford Community Club
Belford Community Club

Parish councillors want to get to the bottom of the issues relating to Belford’s memorial hall, which is currently leased to the community club.

Belford and District Village War Memorial Hall, which houses the Community Club/Skinners Arms, has ‘an extremely bad infestation of dry rot’ and damp, with repair costs unknown at this stage but likely to run to tens of thousands of pounds.

The building is owned by the village and is a registered charity overseen by a group of trustees.

At last Thursday’s meeting of Belford Parish Council, chairman Coun Brenda Stanton suggested that the council could support any efforts in a similar manner to their backing for the play-park project.

However, Couns Reg Carruthers and Nathalie Petronelli expressed reservations about getting involved.

Coun Carruthers said that some areas of land were sold a few years back and he wanted to know where the money from the sale had gone. “The trustees have only got themselves to blame,” he added.

But Coun Tracy Bell said that the issue at hand was the building itself, not its current use or who runs it, adding: “It’s not run right, but it could be run right.”

Members agreed that they needed to know more about what’s happening as the situation is not entirely clear. For example, they don’t even know who all of the trustees of the memorial hall are. They are to invite someone to come to a future meeting.

A lengthy statement from the trustees was published in the Belford Village Facebook group earlier this month and copies have also been posted in the village.

It states that the lease for the building is still owned by the community club committee and their notice to terminate in June was rescinded until a full structural survey could be carried out.

It is a fully repairing lease, meaning that in return for a nominal rent, the lease-holder is solely responsible for the upkeep and repair of the building for the duration.