The following is a minute of the meeting held on Sunday February 25, 2018, when the Edenderry Resident’s Association held a public meeting on the Village Green to discuss the Rural Development Partnership Funding opportunity. This minute is meant to reflect the overall discussion and tenor of the meeting rather than be a detailed note of everything that was said.
The meeting was opened with a restatement from the Chair, Paul Mullan, on the Resident’s Association Committee’s thinking. He stressed that the Committee was not opposed to the concept of a community hall providing that an appropriate site could be found and the concept being backed by a viable business plan. Given that these issues would be assessed through the Council process of developing proposals, and recognising the support from many people present, the Committee gave its backing to the exploration of the concept. In doing so the Committee flagged up concern that should the Community Hall proposals run into difficulties, there may be little time to develop a Plan B, environmental improvements, and so the RDP money could go unspent.
The Chair opened up discussion from the floor.
The proposers of a Community Hall argued its value for the Village, through its potential for use and the opportunities it would create.
A letter was read from Planning Service which highlighted that PPS21 allowed for ‘a necessary community facility to serve the local rural population’ and that ‘the ‘log cabin’ could be considered under this legislation, justification that the cabin is a necessary community facility would be required’. The letter went on to state that this would need to be balanced against any loss of open space under PPS8. The letter concluded that ‘a planning application for a cabin sympathetically designed to blend with its environs could be considered favourably. The Chair informed the meeting that correspondence and communication from the Council and Planning Service gave an alternative view, suggesting that planning approval was unlikely. However, the Chair stressed that, following the development of designs, it would now be down to the Council processes to work their way through this issue.
There was debate and discussion about the costs of a community hall. One proponent of the hall indicated that all could be delivered for under £50k, the Chair advised that, from professional advice taken, a commissioned structure would more likely cost a minimum of £75k. The Chair then informed the meeting that whatever structure is constructed it will have to be designed to meet the RDP and Council requirements.
The size of the hall was raised with some arguing that for the activities identified a 5x10m structure would not be big enough. It was also suggested that the success of this hall could provide a business case for the construction of a larger one in the future.
Location was also discussed, with views expressed ranging from the appropriateness of the proposed site, to taking a more long-term view about location and considering brown-field areas within the village. Concern was also raised about the potential for anything being situated in the Western part of the green.
Comment was made about the divisiveness of the issue, and that such division was not in the spirit of the village. A view was also expressed that it was vital now that a unified face was presented, particularly when it came to dealing with politicians. The Chair commentated that committee’s role was to represent everyone.
Following a discussion about how many people supported the proposals the Chair reminded everyone that democracy also meant respecting the plurality of viewpoints. While there was strong support for the community hall there were others who questioned whether the right approach was being taken to achieving this objective.
The chair summarised the committee’s position at the end:
- The development of a community hall at the eastern edge of the green will be explored based on the plans circulated.
- The Resident’s Association will take the proposals to the Council. Promoters of this initiative will be invited to the meeting. An inclusive subgroup of the committee led by Steve Malone will be set up to progress the exploration of the proposal and report back to the committee. (At the meeting it had been suggested that two groups were set up, but on reflection it was felt that one group would be better for project management reasons).
- The Council processes, including design, economic appraisal of viability, and planning will be progressed. If planning could be expedited sooner this may allow for the environmental Plan B being progressed should the community hall concept run into difficulties.
- It was agreed that there should be no development of the western part of the green which is currently open space.
- The committee will keep the village fully appraised of progress. Resident’s Association meeting notes will be regularly posted on-line and on the Village Notice Board. Should it be required further discussion could happen at the AGM in June.