UPSET: EPFA members face eviction from their clubhouse – By Dorking Advertiser 

Posted: August 22, 2014

By Alexander Robertson alexander.robertson@essnmedia.co.uk

  •  RELM20140204C-002_C Photo by Liam McAvoy

  • THUMBS DOWN: Villagers express dissatisfaction with EVRT

VOLUNTEERS who run activities at Effingham Village Hall could be forced to stop after the trust which owns the building demanded it pay nearly double the rent or face eviction.Members of the Effingham Playing Fields Association (EPFA), which has run events at King George V Hall for 50 years, say the terms of a new lease could force the club to shut.Effingham Village Recreational Trust (EVRT), which owns the building, issued EPFA with a notice to quit unless organisers sign the lease, with a court hearing due to take place in September.

 

Under the current deal, EPFA gives the first £5,000 of any profits to the trust, then keeps the second £5,000, with anything beyond that shared equally.

But the new arrangement would require an annual fixed rent of £6,000 as well as charges to use the premises on certain days, which members calculate would mean bills of £11,700 a year.

EPFA member Anne Wells told the Advertiser: “We simply cannot afford to sign these new terms. It would mean we would have fewer hours on the premises but they would still want more money. It just doesn’t add up.

“We have been running this place for 50 years. It was not set up by a bunch of people trying to make a business; it’s for the village. There isn’t anything else like us in Effingham so it is vital we are here.”

The playing fields and associated buildings are owned and run by the EVRT as managing trustees on behalf of villagers.

Between 1935 and 1938, Effingham residents raised £4,000 in order to purchase the land and after the Second World War it was bestowed upon a charity.

The charity stepped down in 2009, and the EVRT was formed, made up in the main of members of Effingham Parish Council.

Alan Brown, chairman and president of EPFA, said: “We try to negotiate but they keep getting worse and worse.

“One of the new ones they have come up with is that we have to be off the playing fields at a certain time.

“This is a public open space open to anyone 24 hours a day with public footpaths on it. It just shows you how unreasonable they are being. They are hoping we will give up and agree to terms and it’s so unfair.”

Mr Brown said EPFA would put their case forward at a court hearing in September.

He added: “We are all fed up with it.”

In a statement, EVRT told the Advertiser: “The matter is in the hands of our solicitors and proceedings are ongoing. In the circumstances we have no further comment to make at this time.”