Vine Hall Update
Vine Hall has been closed since March (along with Elmbridge Council’s other public halls) as a result of the coronavirus epidemic, and the Council has confirmed none of the halls can be reopened until they can be made COVID secure. While the halls have been closed the Council’s officers have been assessing their condition to ascertain what would need to be done to allow them to reopen.
We were dismayed by the officers’ findings that significant expenditure would be needed to equip Vine Hall for regular use in the long-term, and by reports that the Cabinet at Elmbridge was therefore considering the possibility of not reopening Vine Hall when the coronavirus crisis ends. Following these reports MRA Councillors lobbied both senior officers and Cabinet members at the Council to press for assurances about both the immediate future of Vine Hall, and the position over the longer-term.
Vine Hall has been a much loved community facility in Molesey for many years, and local support for it has been confirmed by a petition arranged by the Vine Hall Action committee, which quickly amassed over 1600 signatures, and this has been very helpful in making sure that the officers and Cabinet members, most of whom do not live in Molesey, are fully aware of the strength of local support for the Hall, and the determination of the community to retain it.
We have been reassured by a statement which has now been issued by the Leader of the Council, MRA Councillor Stuart Selleck, which makes it clear that any consideration of options for the Vine Hall site in the long-term must include a modern, replacement community facility, and also protect the position of the 2nd Molesey Scouts Group, whose Scout Hut is very close to Vine Hall. The statement also confirmed that the Council will engage actively with the residents of Molesey with a view to developing suggestions and ideas for enabling Vine Hall reopen again when it is safe to do so, including the option of the hall reopening as a community-run facility.
These assurances have now been adopted at a full meeting of Elmbridge Council on 2 December, so they are now formal Council commitments. We will update local residents via our website and regular Newsletters as and when any more information becomes available.