The Creation of the Hordle Community Association

The Full Story by Reg Wareham

Early in 1988 as Chairman of the Parish Council I called a Public Meeting in an endeavour to resurrect the Annual Flower Show that had for many years been organised by the Women’s Institute but had closed due to the W/I/ being unable to find enough people to organise it, but were prepared to handover the Trophies and £100 to anyone prepared to continue with its organisation. The meeting was well attended with a Representative from the majority of Organisations being present.  At this Meeting it was proposed and agreed that a Week of Events would take place August Bank Holiday Week with the Flower Show and Village Fair on the Saturday. An additional incentive was that the newly formed Twinning Association were entertaining their guests from Yerville for the 1st time.

Following the success of the Week and  having made a profit it was decided to form the Hordle Community Association with the objective of providing an all – purpose Community Centre, the Constitution  being signed on February 27 1989 after registration with the Charity Commission.

With this objective in mind a Planning Sub-committee was formed who visited a number of other Centres/ village halls including Totton, Mudeford & Hatch Warren, as well as attending Meetings and seminars organised by Community Action Hampshire on Building, Funding and Running such a Centre.

We have also made several approaches to the Parish Council for assistance in finding a suitable site on which to build, one of the first was Dudley Avenue and with the Council’s agreement we had Plans drawn up for a Centre, but the Council decided to also apply for Affordable Housing on the site and with this end in view a Housing Association dug some holes with an excavator and found high levels of methane gas with the result the offer was withdrawn and the Council having to install 7 boreholes on the Dudley Avenue, Danecrest & Heath Road boundaries to ensure no gas was migrating to the surrounding properties.

When the Council then proposed to extend the Sports Facilities and build a new Pavilion at Hordle Recreation Ground we endeavoured to persuade the Council to include a Community Centre on the same site but the Council decided to go along with the then Sports Clubs (the Football Club & Cricket Club having amalgamated for ease of negotiation with the Council) proposals for the Pavilion and Changing Rooms we have today. Incidentally not long after the provision of these new facilities the Sports Club disbanded with the 2 Clubs now  negotiating separately with the Council. The Council having set up the new Sports Facilities intimated that they would  renew their endeavours to assist in our search for a site  for a Community Centre.

Sometime later the Council offered the Play Area adjacent to the WI Hall in connection with the building of a Community Centre, as this site in itself was not large enough for this purpose taking into account the provision of the necessary Car Parking, it was decided to approach the WI to see if they would allow a new Hall to be built at the rear of the existing one with the replacement of the existing Hall to take place later with the provision of the other facilities needed for a Community Centre, but the WI were unable to accommodate us and shortly after the Council withdrew its offer.

Our next endeavour was to submit a Plan for a Community Centre and a Bungalow on land adjacent to the existing Sports Pavilion at Hordle, the owner of which was prepared to negotiate a site if we were successful in gaining the necessary Planning Consent, the Bungalow being for the Owners own use.

Regrettably this was refused and the subsequent appeal dismissed in December 2002 on the grounds that the site was within the Green Belt, although the Centre on its own would have been allowed.

The decision was then made to try again at Dudley Avenue and the Council were asked for their Consent but due to the problems with the likely presence of Methane Gas, the council were unwilling to give it. We then decided that the only way forward was to obtain a Survey of the site and a firm from Lyndhurst were contacted and carried out a desktop study which indicated that a full ground survey was necessary, this was put to the Council who after considerable deliberation agreed to have the full survey done. The results of this survey have been conveyed to the Council but nothing more was  done.

In November 2009 the Chairman and Treasurer through the auspices of the then Parish Council Chairman met with a Landowner who intimated that he was prepared to offer a Site for a Community Centre.

A Meeting of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary & Treasurer was then convened and it was decided that we should seek advice on a feasibility study from Community Action Hampshire, but it was realised on the advice offered that we would at first have to ascertain whether their was sufficient support for the provision of and running of a Community Centre by the populace in Hordle Parish Council’s area.

This  entailed a Survey of all residents being carried out, but as the Parish Council was also desirous of producing a Village Plan to cover all aspects of living within the Parish, it was felt desirable to await the outcome of the Parish Councils survey which would contain the information we required.

With the Plan showing support for a Community Centre the Council approached us in 2010 to ascertain whether we would take over the Management of the Sports Pavilion, we replied that we may be willing to do so if the Pavilion could be used as a Community Centre. The Council then set up a Working Party, consisting of Councillors and Community Association representatives who worked with an architect employed by the Council to draw up the necessary plans and seek Planning Consent from the Planning Authority.

After much deliberation a final Plan was agreed and the necessary consent given by New Forest District Council in 2013.

As for our other Activities, we have continued running the Festival Week, brought theatre to Hordle, started a Gardening Section which is now Hordle Gardening Club, organised the Annual Village Show until the organisation was taken on by the Gardening Club but which ceased in 2001 through lack of support, compile and distribute the Hordle Newsletter which is funded by the Parish Council, maintain a Diary of Events, provide a Forum for Organisations to meet and share Information, also in the past we have arranged meetings to enable newcomers to meet representatives of village organisations.

Organised the Millennium Celebrations when commemorative mugs were pesented to the children at Hordle & Tiptoe Schools also selling them to the Public, a History Section was also formed but has since ceased through lack of an organiser.

Organised the Queen’s Silver & Golden Jubilee Celebrations & assisted in organising & running the Royal British Legion WWII Service & Celebration.

Reg Wareham
Founder Chairman & Life Member

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