A PLAN to move council offices into a historic part of the former Gales brewery has fallen through.
Councillors at Horndean Parish Council have decided not to take ownership of Nash Hall, a pretty 18th century building in London Road that was once part of the brewery.
But, on the plus side, the decision means that a sum of £165,000 has been made available for other community projects that will benefit residents.
Councillors were faced with the tough decision of whether to renovate Nash Hall and convert it a dedicated home for the parish council office and other community uses.
It would have provided greater security for the council as its current offices at Tyfield House, Blendworth Lane, are rented.
But moving into Nash Hall would have meant the £165,000 grant – paid for by developers – could not be spent on other community projects.
After a series of debates, councillors voted against taking ownership of the historic building.
A statement from the council said: ‘The council recognises that Nash Hall is an iconic building in the centre of the Horndean Conservation area and will be supportive of any future applications to protect and conserve it.
‘However the council, after careful consideration, agreed that Nash Hall cannot fulfil the needs of the parish council.’
Concerns centred around lack of parking, an ageing building with damp and insulation problems, and a figure of at least £40,000 for repairs.
Parish Councillor Sara Schillemore said: ‘It’s a real shame.
‘It’s in the centre of the village and the right focal point for the parish council.
‘But I accept there are reasons why it’s not an ideal setting.
‘We are still looking.
‘The hunt goes on. We have to find the right property for the right reasons.’
The council’s decision means that Nash Hall remains under the ownership of developers Linden Homes, which is redeveloping the Gales site into 73 homes.
Nash Hall is not listed and it is understood it would not qualify for listed status.
Exactly where the £165,000 will be spent will be decided by a bidding process.
‘We don’t decide where it goes,’ said Cllr Schillemore.
‘It’s up for bidding by anyone in the community. It could be used to support a lot of things.’