A VILLAGE hall will be knocked down and replaced despite the plans being described as the ‘local marmite’. 

Bradfield village hall was built 60 years ago, but will soon be knocked down after councillors approved the plans.

A new, much larger hall will be built on the site. But the size, design and location of the hall have polarised the village. 

 Bradfield Parish Council objected to the plans because of the loss of green space, the ‘excessive’ size of the new hall, and the new roof ‘not in keeping’ with the surroundings.

But the parish council was split, and voted five to four to object to the plans. Andrew House, the chairman of the parish council, said: “The site is at the heart of the village.”

At a meeting of West Berkshire Council’s eastern area planning committee on October 30, Mr House said: “This development is our local marmite. It has split the parish community down the middle.” 

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Bill Rowntree, who supports the plans, said the new hall will have to last for 60 years. He said: “The car park in the new design will be safe for everyone, particularly children. 

“The new hall is of a new design which will economical to heat and easy to maintain, and suitable for various groups to use.” 

Ken Littlechild, who also supports the plans, said: “When the hall was built, society was very different. All you could do on a Sunday was go to church. Car ownership was minimal in those days.

“What’s (the village population) going to be in 50 or 60 years time? A hell of a lot more. The hall won’t be too big in the future. We’ve got to be proud of something handed on to future generations.” 

Councillors on the planning committee voted unanimously to support the plans.