WHEELS have been set in motion to transform Pilning's outdated village hall into a £500,000 state-of-the-art community hub.

Pilning and Severn Beach Parish Council applied last month for a £10,800 grant towards the project from the Severn Vale Area Forum, to cover design and concept work up until a planning application is submitted.

Although their request was initially rejected until the council can demonstrate it has the backing of a large number of villagers, local members are determined to prove their scheme is not only popular but essential to village life.

Cllr Ian Roberts, Severn Beach and Pilning Parish Council chairman told the Gazette a lot of money was currently being spent to maintain the aging facilities to acceptable standards. A new venue would not only be more suited to users' needs but attract clubs and groups from further afield, he said.

"There are a great many people for it," he said. "I'm determined to try and provide a new and improved facility here that will provide for now and in the future”.
"There are 5,000 people living here at present and thousands working in the Western Approach industrial estate who could be using it."

As part of the overhaul the current 1930s hall would be entirely refurbished. A brand new extension would be built for the pre-school which is based at the venue as well as a state-of-the art sports hall. On-site parking would be available.

In order to apply for funding from Sports England and the National Lottery, among others, the parish council needs the initial financial backing of the area forum. To secure their approval, leaflets explaining the proposals and asking for villagers' feedback have been distributed to every household in the area.

Securing the £500,000 needed is expected to take at least three years.

The construction could be phased as part of the funds start pouring in.

"We could carry out the improvements and construction around the existing village hall as a first phase, and carry out the construction of the sports hall as the second phase as and when we have the money," he added.

"It's part of the strategy, if we can't get all the funding."

The new community hub would be built using sustainable materials.

Solar panels would be installed on the roof, making the building energy sufficient.

District Cllr for Pilning and Severn Beach Robert Griffin added: “Pilning Village Hall has served the community well over many years. If we can secure the necessary funding to improve this important local facility, then this will be a massive boost for the local area.”