FUNDING for a long-awaited village hall is within reach for a committee which passed the second stage of its Lottery grant application.
The grant, of £371,000, was applied for earlier this year by Bempton and Buckton Community Village Hall Committee, and news of their successful progression was received last Thursday, just before its AGM.
The committee has worked for over 30 years to secure funding for the community hall, and the money, if received, will be used to build and equip a new hall in between the villages of Bempton and Buckton.
Last week also saw former chairman Coun Richard Burton stand down to be succeeded by Roger Marriott.
Coun Burton said that Bempton and Buckton residents had ‘never been closer’ to having a village hall.
He said: “A lot of people in the village have put in a lot of work over a lot of years, and it is absolutely fantastic news that we are now in a position where we can now look to follow up and build our long awaited village hall.”
Mr Marriott said: “There has been a lot of hard work gone into this application and many of the villagers have pulled together with the committee to ensure we had all the evidence in place to put forward to the Lottery Board.”
The association will begin work on stage three, the final stage before full grant approval, which involves submission of planning consents, detailed drawings, and ground surveys, most of which have already been done.
John Beales, elected vice chairman of the committee and main architect of the application, said: “I couldn’t be happier.
“I didn’t dare even hope that we would be successful and it’s such a relief not to have to go back to the drawing board.
“We were determined that we would have a new village hall somehow.”
Previous committees have considered having a new hall built, and villagers have fund-raised to collect money for the hall. Jeff Wardlow, a previous committee chairman, said: “It’s been a long hard slog and I’m just delighted that the village finally looks like it is moving forward and achieving the ambition we have all held for so long.”
The committee expects to hear whether it has passed stage three of the Lottery funding process in November, with building work commencing almost immediately after.