Mareham le Fen residents urged to unite behind new hall

John Ellwood with local schoolchidren and residents at the turf cutting. Photo: John Aron
John Ellwood with local schoolchidren and residents at the turf cutting. Photo: John Aron

Work on Mareham le Fen’s new £800,000 village hall and community centre has started with officials calling for residents to unite behind the facility.

More than 30 people - including children from the village primary school - attending the turf cutting ceremony last Tuesday.

The ceremony was performed by long-time resident John Ellwood, who said Mareham had been waiting more than 30 years for a new hall.

The process has been dogged by controversy, with some residents vehemently opposing the building.

Jeremy Hazelwood - vice chairman of the village hall committee - is confident the new hall will benefit the entire community.

He said: “It has taken 14 years to get to this, and it is a very special day.

“It hasn’t all been plain sailing. There have been a lot of ups and downs but I urge everyone, whatever their views, to get behind the new hall.

“It’s not often these days that a small village gets the funding for something like this.

“We also need to remember there was a ballot of residents and the majority were in favour of a new hall.”

The new building - on a site next to the village church - replaces the existing hall which is more than 100 years old and known locally as the ‘Tin Hut’.

Mr Hazelwood claimed the old building was out of date and needed a vast amount of money to bring it into line with new regulations.

He added: “Basically, it’s a tin structure over a wooden frame. It has served the village well, but it is time to move on.

“There’s no disabled access, no parking and it is right on a busy main road.

“The new building will solve all those problems - and more. We’re very lucky.”

The bulk of the funding (£500,000) has come from the Big Lottery and Wren (£50,000).

Residents have raised between £30-40,000, while other contributions have come from various foundations and trusts, along with East Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire County Council.

The new hall should be open by November.