In July 2021 members were consulted after the Forum became aware that the United Reform Church and Hall were to close.
The Church has agreed in principle to close in the face of the significant cost of repairs to the roof. The URC hall has been well used by the community for many years, and its closure would be a great loss to the village.
Members were asked for their views on the Forum to approaching the Council with to have the buildings registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). This would give it protection from development or sale for a six month period in which the community (not the Forum) would be able to raise funds to purchase it.
Members responded positively to the suggestion and the Forum completed the necessary documentation to have the URC and Hall classified as an Asset of Community Value by South Tyneside Council. The application was partially successful in that the Council has approved the registration of the Hall but not the church. This means that the community now has a period of six months to put together a bid to acquire the Hall from the current owners, the United Reformed Church Northern Synod, before the Hall can be sold.
In order to take this forward, we need to establish a steering group from the community who will work towards putting together a bid to purchase the Hall and be responsible for its ongoing management. The Hall has been a valuable resource for the community for many years and it would be tragic if this opportunity is lost.
If you are interested in being involved, please contact the Forum as soon as possible. The next step will be for those who have expressed an interest to meet to discuss the steps necessary to preserve the Hall for community use in future.
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