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Community and council come together to save Melvin Hall for community use

PUBLISHED: 15:13 06 October 2017

Melvin House

Melvin House

Archant

The building was formerly used by Age Concern

A post-war community centre will continue serving Penge’s elderly community for the next five years after it was left dormant more than a year a go.

Melvin Hall had been serving the town since the end of the Second World War, most recently as an Age Concern day centre.

But in August last year, the charity announced it would not be renewing its lease, over fears it could it no longer cover the £22,000 a year lease it was paying to Bromley council.

Before its closure, the centre announced there would be a £15 charge for clients using its transport facilities.

With its future in doubt and charges for users, some elderly residents were forced to make the four mile trip to the Bertha James Centre in Bromley.

A meeting was held in the spring of 2016 to prepare for the closure, and a number of residents came forward to help protect the site for community use.

By November, the Melvin Hall Community Group was formed and had registered as a national charity, bringing together 12 trustees from the area, after eight different groups came forward with plans for the hall.

More than a year on from officially registering, Melvin Hall’s future has been secured.

Maureen Kennedy from the group said: “We are now pleased to announce that we have now signed a five year lease with Bromley Council.

“By having this wonderful asset for the community we are able to hold a regular monthly coffee morning and many other social events provided for our lonely and elderly.”

Councillor Graham Arthur, executive councillor for resources said, “Whenever a council property becomes free we seek the best outcome for the community and the taxpayer. In this case, Age Concern reconfigured their service and no longer required Melvin Hall. The council has agreed to cover essential maintenance costs and allow a rent free period to help get things off the ground. This has been an excellent example of how the community and the council have worked together to find a long term and sustainable future for Melvin Hall, which clearly is a much valued building and where local services and events can take place.

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