All about Weybridge Surrey & surrounding areas. Weybridge is in the borough of Elmbridge. Surrounding towns include Cobham, Walton on Thames, Hersham, Byfleet, Chertsey, Addlestone & Shepperton.

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Weybridge Community > Save Weybridge Hall

 

If you think local community activities & facilities are important, please help now to Save Weybridge Hall

 
 

Since This Campaign Page was published, Weybridge Hall Has Been Given New Life

  Weybridge Hall Exterior
News: December 2011
 
We were pleased to strongly support the campaign to save Weybridge Hall, including prominent publicity on the allaboutWeybridge website, so we are delighted to announce that following a period of uncertainty about its future, Weybridge Hall has been given a fresh start.
For full details of this great news and to see how you can help secure the future permanently for this vital community facility, see separate page: Weybridge Hall News.
 
 
Other pages: Latest News - Hope For Weybridge Hall - Click here to read
No Reply To Friends Offer To Run Hall
Hall Usage Figures and Consultation Process Challenged By Friends Of Weybridge Hall
 
Save Weybridge Hall

Friends Of Weybridge Hall

Over 1.000 local people have now registered their support for keeping open Weybridge Hall as it comes under serious threat of closure. Elmbridge Borough Council has withdrawn the £17,000 annual funding for the Hall and is requiring all of the Hall’s users to move out.
The Hall is a vital community facility in the heart of the town and hundreds will be affected by the decision, including toddlers and the elderly. A petition opposing the closure has been circulated in the town and the number of signatures grows every day.
There is also an online petition you can sign (very quick) - see column on right.
Despite a generous offer of financial support from local PR consultant, Max Clifford, and pleas from the general public for consultation, the Council is pursuing its plans.
The Hall hosts many community-orientated activities and businesses including adult and children dance classes, old folks’ groups, adult education classes and school activities. Many are struggling to find suitable, alternative venues.
The Council has stated that consultation on the Hall’s future shall begin only after all of the users have been moved out of the Hall, leaving behind an empty building and a disappointed community.
Continued directly below

How To Help - Have Your Say

Friends of Weybridge Hall including former mayor Graham Winton suggest the following actions plus any other publicity you can help with;

Sign The Petition:
A petition for local residents to express their concerns about the plans is available online at www.ipetitions.com/petition/weybridge_hall

Write to Elmbridge Borough Council:
Leader: John O’Reilly
joreilly@elmbridge.gov.uk
Cabinet Member for Finance: Roger Whittaker rwhittaker@elmbridge.gov.uk
Cabinet Member for Leisure etc : Jan Fuller jfuller@elmbridge.gov.uk
Head of Leisure: Ian Burrows iburrows@elmbridge.gov.uk
Strategic Director Services: David Wiltshire dwiltshire@elmbridge.gov.uk
Chief Executive: Rob Moran rmoran@elmbridge.gov.uk
 
Also let your local councillors know:
Cllr Miles Macleod (who voted against withdrawing funds) mmacleod@elmbridge.gov.uk
Cllr Tim Crowther (who voted against withdrawing funds) tcrowther@elmbridge.gov.uk
Cllr Simon Dodsworth (who voted for withdrawing funds) sdodsworth@elmbridge.gov.uk
Cllr Glen Dearlove (who voted for withdrawing funds) gdearlove@elmbridge.gov.uk
 
Save Weybridge hall Demonstration

Message from Former Mayor

Graham Winton, former Mayor of Elmbridge, who runs Weybridge Old Folks Club has been an active campaigner to save Weybridge Hall. Here is his article;

How much does it cost to keep Weybridge Hall open? 9 Pennies?
100 years old Weybridge Public Hall is scheduled for closure by Elmbridge Borough Council. No reason has been given other than to save a small management charge.
Campaigners and local councillors have sought discussions about the future of the hall with the council without success. The doors will close soon. (9 pennies was the cost of a popular seat in this once popular County Cinema.)
Over recent years DCLeisure have taken on a long term contract for the running of the hall (along with other leisure facilities). The cost to Elmbridge for the running of Weybridge Hall is said to be £17,000 per annum. All income from lettings is retained by DC Leisure who appear to have attracted a wide and different range of users. Shoe sales, Psychic Fair, Church Services, Local organisation meetings such as those of Weybridge Old Folks Club (who have been using the hall for over 40 years) Dog Training, and many Children’s Groups.
Continued directly below

Friends Of Weybridge Hall (continued)

May Cotter, who attends the weekly Old Folks’ Club at the Hall, says, “Coming to the Hall every Thursday is the only time many of the members get out. We all look forward to it. We make friends there. The atmosphere in the Hall is wonderful and inviting and makes one big extended family. The Hall should be kept for the people of Weybridge.”
Chairwoman of the Friends of Weybridge Hall, Jennifer Doyle, says, “it would be a great shame to lose this fantastic public hall. All options for the Hall should be considered and the public should be consulted before the Council proceeds with any plans. It’s pointless to consult once the users have been removed from the Hall. What future can it have then?”
Further Information & Help - Contact Friends Of Weybridge Hall:
Please email friendsofweybridgehall@yahoo.co.uk

Online Petition - Have Your Say
A petition for local residents to express their concerns about the plans is available at www.ipetitions.com/petition/weybridge_hall
 
Tell A Friend Or Local Organisation
There are many people who would support the campaign if they knew the details. Please send them an email now:  Click here - includes a link to this page

 

Briefing Notes - From Friends Of Weybridge Hall

The Hall is the only public venue in Weybridge with a visible ‘high street’ location, a large, open interior space and a wooden floor;
It is used by local residents ranging from the elderly to tiny tots, by community-orientated businesses, schools and local community groups (annual usage exceeds 2,000 hours);
Elmbridge Borough Council (the “Council”) owns the Hall;
DC Leisure Ltd is the contractor engaged by the Council to provide maintenance and management services to the Hall;
The Council has withdrawn the £17,000 annual funding required for the Hall’s management and maintenance from the 2011/12 budget (applies from 01 April 2011). This is the annual fee paid to DC Leisure by the Council for management and maintenance services;
The Council requires all hirers of the Hall to move their businesses and activities to alternative venues;
The Council is encouraging the hirers to move to the Weybridge Centre for the Community (a small centre hidden away beside Churchfields Park). The Centre is unsuitable for many of the Hall's activities (e.g. toddlers’ football and dance classes). Other alternative venues in the town are limited in terms of availability and suitability. Some also cost a lot more to hire;
The Council’s decisions were taken without public consultation or discussion with any of the Hall’s hirers or users.
Further Information & Help - Contact Friends Of Weybridge Hall:
Please email friendsofweybridgehall@yahoo.co.uk
  Save Weybridge Hall      
Letter From Weybridge Resident M. McTague To Cllr Simon Dodsworth (who voted for withdrawing funds)
I am writing to correct you following the receipt of the ‘In Touch’ leaflet and your comments regarding Weybridge Hall....
Read the full letter - click here
 
It is against this thriving background that the unannounced and - not consulted upon - decision to delete the funding for the management of the hall was made. From April 1st, the doors of Weybridge Hall will be locked. (And the keys thrown away??).
All users will be asked to find alternative premises and once they have been transferred then the future of the hall will be discussed. This has outraged many people in the community and has lead to petitions and press comment.
All the council can say is “The council are transferring the operations at the hall to another site within the area, maximising the use of its available assets. The council will then take the opportunity to review the future use of the hall.”
The decision to close the hall was taken on Dec 8th at a full Elmbridge Council Meeting under a “Budget Reduction Proposals item 2011/12” agreed at a Cabinet meeting of 24 November.
The ruling Conservative administration voted through a one line item to “Relocate as many hirers as possible from the Weybridge Hall to the Weybridge Day Centre” Save £17,000 Risk “Low” Type of Savings – “Efficiency”.
This decision was queried at Cabinet and Main Council by opposition councillors who asked for deferment for consultation. This was refused without reason.
A further attempt was made at a “Scrutiny” meeting to extract information on the back ground to the decision and its consequences to no avail. Cabinet members Whittaker and Fuller continued the “stonewall”.
Users are up in arms about the future of their groups. For example, Weybridge Old Folks Club members have twice voted not to transfer to the Weybridge Day centre.
The 60 year old club faces closure if a suitable alternative is not found. Churches are being very helpful but appropriate space, facilities and vacancies are not readily available.
Petitions, letters, telephone calls and emails are being organised to get the council to come clean and let the residents in on the future of the hall.
What can you do?
Email the powers that be at Elmbridge Council now (details at top of this page).
Sign the petition at www.ipetitions.com/petition/weybridge_hall
Tell others about the campaign
and that all the details can be found on the
all about Weybridge website
 
above article Copyright Graham Winton
6 March 2011
 
For History & Notes About Weybridge Hall, including Previous Closure Attempt, see the section at the bottom of this page
 

Comments From Some Of The Save Weybridge Hall Petitioners

 
" I strongly believe that it is a NECESSITY not a luxury for the young and the old to have access to the above mentioned community based activities. By closing the hall you deprive the elderly, parents and children of a chance to get together, socialise, exercise and appreciate the community they live in. This is a backwards step and affects all of their WELLBEING."
Annette Byway on Mar 3, 2011
 
"The Hall is a large part of the community and is used for many things to bring people together. "
Janet Lacey on Mar 3, 2011
 
"You cannot close the hall without consultation and helping people to find VIABLE alternatives to keep groups going. these groups need venues to be available and should be encouraged to continue to provide enrichement to young and old alike regardless - it will still need security and maintenance even if it is closed and empty - better to have some contribution coming in than nothing at all."
Sue Haynes on Mar 2, 2011
 
"It is important to consult with users and partners before closing a local communiy resource. There could well be community interest in taking over the mangement."
Mona on Mar 3, 2011
 
"I feel its so important to retain community activities and facilities. The saving of £17000 a year is not much and I wonder how well this has been thought through.
For example, most people using the hall will park in Churchfield car park. Activities are usually at least 1 hour, so to park legally (allowing for time walking to & from the hall) they will pay for at least £1 for 2 hours to the council for parking.
At a level of 46 car users per day using the hall, the council would be receiving parking revenues which cancel out the £17,000 costs of running the hall. Elmbridge Choir used the hall in 2009 for a half day workshop, with 200 people attending. Last year we had another activity there.
The number of people parking may not be as high as 46 per day, but the contribution they are making in parking revenues must be substantial, so the savings from closing the hall are minimal.
 Is it realistic for all the activities like children's play groups to go to the Day Centre? I think not. The hall has a stage and an excellent dance floor, so the Day Centre is not a suitable substitute and many community activities will be lost.
In a week where on the news we have seen £73 million paid by Chelsea Football Club for 2 players who will train at Cobham and probably live at St George's Hill Weybridge or elasewhere in Elmbridge, it is a sad reflection on society that important community activities and facilities are closed down to save less than £17,000 per year.
Could not a wealthy local individual or organisation sponsor the hall? The positive PR benefit could be attractive to someone? .
Chris Feb 2011
 
"It should be illegal to close a public space which the public use without consultation with them! "
Jo Humphries on Mar 3, 2011
 
There are lots more comments from concerned and angry residents - see the online petition
 

Have You Had Your Say Yet?

Save Weybridge Hall
Please take a few minutes to support the campaign
What can you do?
Email the powers that be at Elmbridge Council now (details at top of this page).
Sign the petition at www.ipetitions.com/petition/weybridge_hall
 
 

History Of The Hall & Previous Closure Attempt - Notes From Graham Winton

 
 

History Of Weybridge Hall

The building was constructed in 1899 as part of a parade of shops and first used as a grocers shop. For a time it was vacant and was considered as a cinema in 1912 but with the onset of the 1st world war, it was used by an engineering company. It eventually opened as a cinema in 1920 as the Weybridge Kinema Theatre.
 It was refitted by Tarrents in 1927 in 1927 to provide seating for 520 and renamed King George’s Cinema. Sound was introduced in 1929. It was renamed County Cinema in 1937 and remained as such till closure in the early 1950’s. In 1954 the cinema was bought by the Walton and Weybridge UDC and converted into a Public Hall. It passed into Elmbridge BC’s hands in 1974.
 

Details of the Hall

Weybridge Hall is managed on behalf of Elmbridge Borough Council by DC Leisure who manage most of the Leisure facilities in the borough including the Xcel Leisure Centre. The Hall is well used by many local groups, organisations and commercial interests. The council pays DCLeisure £17,000 per annum for the management of the hall. This payment covers caretaking, advertising and booking services. The council is responsible for the maintenance of the fabric and services for the hall such as electricity, gas and water.
The hall has a main auditorium with a stage, a multi-purpose open space with a high class floor suitable for dancing, meetings and entertainment and a kitchen with all cooking facilities. There are toilet facilities including for disabled. Stairs lead to a first floor which includes a bar, storage facilities and a balcony to the main auditorium. By separate access, the first floor houses a meeting room.
Two further upper floors houses accommodation for the caretaker.
 

Previous Closure Attempt

In the early 1990’s repair work was required to the external and internal structure as a threat of closure arose. Firstly, external re-pointing was needed to the brickwork. A (serious!) surveyor’s report was presented to the council which estimated the cost as being £220,000!!!. This was a key cost in the pressure to close the hall as unaffordable, only for one councillor (guess who!) found that there was a typing error and the one additional zero had been added. The cost was only £22,000. This did not daunt the council who took some persuading that hall was still needed by the community.
 A Friends of Weybridge Hall committee was set up to fight to keep it open. Petitions and letters lead to the decision to retain the hall and carry out a number of improvements including the reconstruction of the balcony steps to conform to safety regulations. There was a grand opening of the hall balcony and bar on 25th January 1996. Work was carried out on the windows, introducing new heating and a new sound system (funded by the WI), new curtains in the meeting room funded by the Friends and a Disabled Toilet constructed from the proceeds of a Charity Scottish County Dance evening in the hall. The hall was painted its current colour of blue by the Friends of Weybridge Hall in fact by the husband and son of the current caretaker. The main brown curtains on the hall windows and stage were paid for by the Friends. The hall continues to be looked after lovingly by the long term caretaker - Annette Chandler.
  Save Weybridge Hall
What can you do?
Email the powers that be at Elmbridge Council now (details at top of this page).
Sign the petition at www.ipetitions.com/petition/weybridge_hall
Copyright Graham Winton
6 March 2011
 
Other pages: Latest News - Hope For Weybridge Hall - Click here to read
No Reply To Friends Offer To Run Hall
Hall Usage Figures and Consultation Process Challenged By Friends Of Weybridge Hall
Weybridge Surrey Information
 
 

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