Residents dismayed as church considers sale of Fritchley village hall

Fritchley Congregational Church, on the village green, was founded in the 1840s and has Grade II listed status.
Fritchley Congregational Church, on the village green, was founded in the 1840s and has Grade II listed status.

Fritchley residents have been left frustrated and dismayed as the religious organisation which owns their village hall contemplate selling it off.

Trustees of the Congregational Federation Limited, a Nottingham charity managing property owned by Congregational churches, are meeting this week to discuss the fate of the Grade II listed building.

Its future has been uncertain since the village church disbanded last year due to a declining congregation - although the hall has always been more widely used.

Resident Steve Wood said: “It regularly hosts a yoga group, pensioners’ groups, several monthly meetings, as well as special events.

“Everyone who used the hall got a letter at the start of the year saying we must stop by March.

“It was a bolt out of the blue for a lot of people to realise the hall they’d taken for granted would suddenly be shut down and taken away.”

The village Community Association sprang into action and successfully applied to have the hall certified as an asset of community value by Amber Valley Borough Council.

That means that, if it is put up for sale, the community would have six months to prepare a bid to buy it, and any planning applications would have to consider its status.

Steve said: “It’s already restricted in heritage terms, so it is hard to see what anyone else could use it for.

“People here have all sorts of ideas how we make it into a community hub promoting our local history.

“But, realistically, unless we found a generous benefactor, we are probably not going to be able to raise the hundreds of thousands of pounds it might fetch on the market.”

Adding to residents’ disappointment, the charity has rejected all attempts to discuss the issue, said Steve: “We’ve been to their offices, and invited them to meet us, and got no response, just one email wishing us luck if it goes up for sale.

“They have even ignored a group of residents who want to revive the church as a place of worship, which you’d think the charity would support.”

Congregational Federation Limited did not respond to requests by the Mercury for a comment.