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Prime Minister asked to intervene over church's sale of village hall

An open letter has been sent to the Prime Minister about the sale of a hall by the church she attends.

The MP for Maidenhead and Twyford Theresa May is a regular worshipper at St Andrew’s Church, in Sonning.

But plans by the church to sell off a hall in the neighbouring village of Charvil have angered residents.

The letter, signed by Brenda Cowdery on behalf of Charvil residents, describes how the land where Jubilee Hall now stands, in Park View Drive, was originally gifted to the Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance for the ‘spiritual and social needs for the peo-ple and children’ of the village in the Fifties by a Mr Livanos.

The board transferred the land to St Andrew’s Church with added covenants, including allowing the church to sell the land for ecclesiastical purposes in the parish.

It explains how residents originally fund-raised and built the hall and, while it acknowledges they have no legal right on what happens to the hall, it states ‘morally they have all the rights’.

In July 1999, the church sold a large portion of the land for £455,000 and in November 2016 told the pre-school and several community groups and clubs that operated from the hall they would have to find accommodation elsewhere.

Charvil Parish Council offered to take over the running of Jubilee Hall but this was declined by the church.

In a statement, the church said: “The Parochial Church Council (PCC) has now decided to proceed to sell the site via a sealed bid process, managed by professional agents.

“This decision has been ratified by the Diocesan Authority and is therefore final.”

In a statement, Mrs May said: “I have raised the concerns that have been sent to me with St Andrews’s PCC. I understand that the intention is to use any money raised from the sale to provide accommodation for a youth minister to work with children and young people in the parish which, of course, includes Charvil.”

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