Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
People urged to help save Minehead community venue
GROUPS looking for somewhere to meet are being urged to come to the rescue of a community facility in Minehead.
The Lawns Club in Townsend Road is struggling to remain viable as costs are double its income.
The trustees have been granted planning permission to build two houses on the site, but they maintain this is a last resort and are consulting those who currently use it to find a solution.
Chair Tim Ross said: “We are changing the management structure so that it is not just the trustees but the user groups who are involved as well.
“Although we have planning permission we don’t intend to use it but it is a stop-gap if things don’t work out.
“We very much want it all to work out and hope to attract more groups to the venue to ensure its survival.”
The club is used by seven groups for activities including indoor bowls, table tennis, line dancing, fitness classes, tai chi, amateur dramatics and railway enthusiast meetings.
Charges for hiring the hall, ranging from £5 to £15, are much lower than at similar venues in the town which cost on average about £20 and raising prices is one of the options being considered.
West Somerset Councillor Doug Ross is a member of one of the clubs which uses the hall.
He said: “I understand why the trustees need to do something about their financial situation but I am not sure this is the right place to put two houses.
“I don’t think we should lightly allow the loss of another community venue in Minehead.”
The club’s trustees were forced to apply for planning permission now before they were left with no money to do so in the future.
Cllr Ian Melhuish said: “The trustees of the charity are in a difficult situation and they are trying to cover all bases. They are stuck.
“Hopefully something will come out of their plans and they will be able to make the books balance.”
If work does go ahead it must be started within three years of planning permission being granted.
Anyone interested in using the space can contact Tim Ross on 01643-702553.