Fight to save the Victoria Institute

John Richardson, Annette Wilkinson and Agnus Potter from the Friends of the Victorian Institute collecting signitures to help save the building at the annual Misterton Gala G110709-1f
John Richardson, Annette Wilkinson and Agnus Potter from the Friends of the Victorian Institute collecting signitures to help save the building at the annual Misterton Gala G110709-1f
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A CAMPAIGN has started to save an old building from further ruin in Misterton.

The former Victoria Institute has been left to go derelict since 2002 when is closed as a snooker club.

the boarded up Victoria Institute in Misterton

the boarded up Victoria Institute in Misterton

Now several villagers have started a petition to gauge the feelings of other residents about the building.

Agnes Potter said there was an overwhelming opinion that the building should be saved and turned into building for community use when they started their campaign at the Misterton Gala.

Mrs Potter is part of a group of residents who stepped in at the eleventh hour last year and saved the building from being sold.

“We would love to see it as a village hall. The building was originally built for the people so they should have their say as well regarding what happens to it,” she said.

“There is no point in fighting for it if people don’t want it. Most people, young and old, want us to save it.”

Mrs Potter said it would be “criminal” if residents fears came true and the building was sold and then demolished.

“The building looks like an eyesore at the moment but we hope for it not to be an eyesore anymore.”

“It’s our only asset in the village,” she added.

The building has had a chequered past since in was last in use in 2002.

Misterton Parish Council, in agreement with the Charity Commission, formed the Misteron Community Trust (MCT) and took over responsibility for the building in 2006.

A public consultation followed and found that Misterton should have less buildings for public use.

The MCT took advice from Bassetlaw Council and Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire which said they should dispose of the Victorian Institute and the village hall and concentrate on improving and increasing the use of other public buildings.

At a public meeting in March last year it was proposed that the building be sold, but when the group of residents objected they agreed to pay the insurance for a year while they found another use for it.

Councillor Hazel Brand said that after 16 months the situation is no further forward.

“The Victoria Institute may be dear to some residents’ hearts but for a decade no-one has come up with a need for it as a village hall, which is its only legal use if not sold,” she added.

“I’m sure most people aren’t aware of the poor state of the building, particularly the interior: it has been completely trashed and will cost the best part of £100,000 to bring it into use.”

“The building is deteriorating steadily as utilities had to be turned off in 2006 in order to meet insurance requirements. And with numerous other buildings in the village that can accommodate meetings, events, and activities, it’s not surprising that there’s no use for it.”

“The advice of the Charity Commission six years ago was to be very careful about pumping money into the Victoria Institute in the hope that it could once again function as a village hall.”

“The commissioners warned that all too often they had seen such good intentions fail, with the loss of public money.”

“The Parish Council, as the sole corporate trustee, followed that advice and had agreed to sell it but was blocked by residents, who wanted a further year to find a use for the Victoria Institute. Now 16 months have gone by and we’re no further forward.”

The future of the Victoria Institute will be discussed at a meeting of the MCT on 26th July.