New Stapeley community hall

A parish council has defended its decision to allow a new Nantwich community hall to be turned into a privately-run nursery.

Some have criticised the move by Stapeley Parish Council, fearing it will mean the hall can’t be booked out by anyone else on weekdays.

New Nantwich nursery company Red Wellies will be based in the facility on Pear Tree Field, next to Pear Tree Primary School, from Monday to Friday from June 3.

But one resident said it felt like the hall had been “hijacked” for commercial gain.

It seems the very concept of a community hall being used to promote community for everyone is lost,” she said.

“An epic fail really as this will mean the hall has lost all meaning and, should by definition be renamed Commercial Hall for any fee paying company wishing to hijack our venue.”

Another villager added: “I fail to see how it can be called a community hall now.”

But a spokeswoman for Stapeley Parish Council said: “I’m not aware anyone has been refused a booking because of this arrangement.

“If someone wished to use the hall during these hire periods, the Parish Council can give the regular user eight weeks’ notice for a specific date.

“This is so it allows other organisations, or individuals, who might otherwise be prohibited from using the hall, to hire it for a specific event.”

However, leaflets promoting the new nursery declare it will be open “52 weeks a year” from 7.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

“I can quite understand people are probably a bit “miffed” if they have been receiving information which might have been presented in a negative light,” the council spokeswoman added.

“But for such things as birthdays and anniversaries, these are known 12 months in advance, so it should be possible to accommodate individual requests.”

For more details on booking out the hall visit


  1. Mr. Johnson says:

    I must admit, I have mixed views on this issue. On one hand, I can understand the issues and complications of ensuring that the village hall does not make a loss and during school hours, the hall is less likely to be booked. On the other hand, it does seem an immoral decision from a community perspective.

    In my opinion, the Village Hall is a community building and should be available for the community. Yes, the hall has to be able to run itself financially, but this is not the same as aiming for a profit. It may be true that no one has been refused a booking so far, but this does not mean it won’t happen in the future. This is especially the case for half term or summer holidays.

    Having said that, as there has been little interest in using the hall in the day during the week, I can understand why the SPC have allowed it. If many people had already come forward with requests to use the hall during this time, it would be obvious that this commercial venture would not have been allowed.

    I would conclude that in my opinion, having a commercial business monopolising the village hall from 9am to 6pm 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year is the wrong decision. I am sure there are many empty commercial buildings available for this venture. Even though I understand the reasons why the SPC have allowed this, I feel that pure financial reasons are incorrect in this instance.

  2. Rob Morton says:

    Patrick Robinson says:
    May 22, 2013 at 7:52 am

    “This is a thinly disguised attempt by Cheshire East council to hijack a local facility in the interests of generating income.”

    Read the article. It has nothing to do with Cheshire East Council, just a local Parish Council trying to do the right thing in the interests of the Community. Unfortunately, there is no right answer that will satisfy everyone all of the time.

  3. turnipdog says:

    There are plenty of other commerical use buildings in Nantwich to accomodate this, perhaps older children, younger adultsm middle aged adults, aged adults etc could have used this facility rather than just one section of the community

  4. Helen Hewitt says:

    Im afraid I have to reflect the thoughts of others on here – the hall will cease to be a Community Hall and will be a commercial building. I can not see a nursery closing on an ad-hoc basis (despite notice being given) to accommodate parties etc. Only the other week I was reading Parish Literature on the cost of renting the hall – there was no mention of a potential nursery. We have waited a LONG time for this hall and now I fear it will be lost to us. Where will the nursery children go for outdoor play? Is the car-park to be altered? Where will all the nursery equipment go in order to facilitate private bookings at weekends? Im unable to comprehend how the hall can run with a dual purpose as a commercial venture and a community facility.

  5. Jane Price says:

    I have just been on this companies web site.

    They state that there will be an outside play area
    Just where will this be?
    On the car park, or on the hard ball area for football
    and basket ball.
    This being the case, where do children go at lunchtime in term, during half term and,Easter,Summer,Christmas etc.

    Just incase no one is aware, there are at least four deep
    pools close by.
    The whole area is open plan, any child can just run into the road, it only takes a split second for a 2yr old.

    Has anyone undertaken a Risk Assessment here even?!

  6. Patrick Robinson says:

    This is a thinly disguised attempt by Cheshire East council to hijack a local facility in the interests of generating income. None of the residents were consulted about this nursery opening, nor were we advised that an agreement had been reached. The first indication that we had about it was when leaflets advertising the nursery started coming through our letter boxes.

    We have had to wait long enough for the hall to be opened, yet the minute it is, we are told that we can’t use it for nearly 12 hours a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year. To say that we may have it for a function, provided that we give eight weeks notice, is disingenuous – are the nursery really going to tell their fee-paying parents “sorry, but you will have to make alternative arrangements for child care six weeks on Tuesday because the hall is wanted by somebody else”? I can’t see it.

    Surely the whole “raison d’être” for a Community Hall is that it is there for the community, as a focal point for activities? Yet CE council have now removed that facility from the local community, & in exchange all that they are offering is even more traffic on our local roads & even more car parking problems. At the very least, there should have been some form of discussion with the local community, rather than presenting us with a done deal. Has the need for such a facility in this area been identified – if so, when & by whom?

  7. Alison Maynard says:

    Your article states a council spokesperson has confirmed Quote:” that the parish council can give eight weeks notice of a specific date for someone wishing to use the hall”.

    Just how will that go down with parents? “Oh sorry next Friday you will have to make alternative arrangements for your child care” !!
    No we all know that will not happen.

    The real reason I feel this hall has been snatched from the community is down to costs.
    This building promised to the community over thirteen years ago is a white elephant.
    The design is not fit for purpose, too small, no storage space, or area to keep equipment, barely finished and with no useable outside space apart from a car park.

    No, be honest council and tell us like it is. This is no longer a community hall, it is a commercial venture to off set what has become an epic fail in planning.

    While the nursery is open until 7pm, will other people be able to use the hard ball area, or will that be used for nursery equipment also?
    Like I said, this is so a COMMERCIAL venture !!

    • Alison Maynard says:

      Should a future developer seduce us with another “Community Hall” then we will be wiser on this situation.
      Planners will need to insist that any future development is self financing, and fit for purpose in today’s world, not the 1950’s as it is clearly linked with at the moment.

      If this hall had been built to a higher specification, ie a supermarket on the ground floor with apartments over the shop, and a “community” hall included in the design, then there would have been more success in keeping running costs down.

      There will then be a rent free provision of an apartment, for a manager to organise with schools and the community on a day to day basis to benefit all members of the community.

      As it stands in my opinion, in very little time the school may need to use this excisting building to cope with even more families moving to the area.

      So the luxury of a Community Hall will be something of the past.

  8. Rob Morton says:

    I completely understand the motivations of the Stapeley and District Parish Council (SDPC) and the Hall Management committee for wanting the security and longevity of a long-term hire agreement, as this will ensure the facility remains open and secures the use (outside of core hours) by residents of the locality. The alternative is to simply run the risk of closure. As such, in my own opinion, a long-term hire arrangement is an acceptable compromise position to take and I would welcome it.

    Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that without such long-term compromise arrangements Community Halls, in general terms, run loss making positions and require the on-going financial support of the Community through the collection of Parish and Town Council precepts. This is a concept, I am sure, would also raise the objection of the minority of habitual complainers.

    That said, the defence put forward by the SDPC surprises me. Firstly, is it really expected that if a member of the Community, giving eight weeks’ notice of Baby George’s birthday or Great Aunt’s Ethel’s wedding anniversary, should request to hire the hall during the daytime, that Red Wellies nursery would be expected to vacate the premises and make alternative arrangements for their fee paying parents. I can’t see this as ever being an acceptable proposition.

    Secondly, if the Hall were ever to be set up as a Charitable Trust at arms-length to the SDPC (which in itself, would be an admirable and welcome move in the right direction) would these same rules apply in the longer term?

    Regards the nature of this specific long-term hire agreement, it is in itself is questionable. Although no expert, I am unsure of the suitability of such facility for the nursery day-care of pre-school children, using the example of the apparent lack of secure outdoor facilities.

    It would be interesting to understand if Ofsted have yet approved the venture.

    Finally… and I quote;

    “But for such things as birthdays and anniversaries, these are known 12 months in advance”

    Stating the obvious? What more can be said 😉

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