A new community hall that will be able to accommodate a 120 seated audience with a stage in a Dartmoor village has been given the go-ahead.

Dartmoor National Park planners unanimously backed plans for a new Community Hall, associated new access point, parking and break-out space, to be built in the centre of Widecome-in-the-Moor.

The plans, out forward by Widecombe Community Hall CIO, would see the new village hall built on the currently undeveloped Hayes Field, and would allow for a much wider range of community activities to take place in the centre of the village.

It will include a 120 seated audience with a stage, a main hall, a multi-use room, a kitchen and bar, with a small parking area linked to the highway, and would be fully accessible, unlike the existing community facilities.

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Chris Elliott, speaking on behalf of the Widecombe Community Hall CIO, said that the proposal had been "50 years in the making" and that while there are some existing facilities in the village, they were not built for this purpose and accessibility and comfort is lacking.

Naomi Oakley added: “I wholeheartedly support the application and it will be a wonderful thing for the community,” while Andrew Cooper said: “There is good community support for the project so would like to see it completed.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Artist's impression of the new community hall for Widecombe-in-the-Moor

Peter Smerdon added: “Village halls are huge assets to villages and very well used, and when the hall is built, it will be a massive asset to the community.”

The scheme was recommended for approval, with officers saying: “This is a project which has been well researched and, in the main, supported by the wider community of Widecombe-in-the-Moor. While there are existing hall facilities in the village and at neighbouring Leusdon, both are ageing facilities with limited accessibility.

“This proposed hall will allow for a wider range of community activities, will be centrally placed in the village, and well related to the village primary school and existing recreation facilities on the adjacent site.

“This is considered to be a development which meets sustainability objectives in that it will enhance local leisure opportunities, improve village infrastructure and support the economy and well-being of the resident community. These factors offset the limited harm resulting from the development of this site.”

The committee unanimously approved the plans.