Published: 23:14, 17 February 2020
| Updated: 23:17, 17 February 2020
Swale council has agreed to pay £40,000 towards upgrading the former Borough Hall at Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey.
A committee led by Cllr Peter MacDonald took over the hall in Main Road from the council in 2012, renamed it the Sheppey Hall and has been busy bringing it back to life.
But it has identified £80,000 of work still needed.
It includes turning the unusable first floor into additional space for classes, meetings and small business start-ups, a new staircase, replacement boiler with updated heating and revamped fire and emergency systems.
The roof also needs stripping and re-tiling.
The Sheppey Hall Trust applied to the council for funding back in October.
Cllr Cameron Beart, ward councillor for Queenborough and Halfway, said: “I am delighted with the £40,000 investment from the council to help renovations at the hall.
“The total cost will be £80,000 so this grant has given the Trust a big leap towards its final target."
He said the "important project" will transform the first floor into a fully functional space.
He added: “The hall provides for a wide range of social activities including indoor sports like short mat bowls and dance, music and art classes.
“I hope the renovation of the first floor will allow people the opportunity to work close to home without needing to commute to the mainland."
The Trust already has planning permission. It now needs to raise the remaining half of the money.
Cllr Roger Truelove, leader at the council, said: “We are pleased to help fund the renovations at the Sheppey Hall from our special projects fund.
“The Trust has worked hard to improve the facilities at the hall for the local community since it took over the lease in 2012. We are glad to help fund the next stage of the hall’s transformation.”
The hall is the Island's largest. It was used to host 'tanner hops' in the 1950s and for many dinner dances of the town's industries.
It burned down in January 1976 but was rebuilt.
Cllr MacDonald said: "The hall was in a terrible state when we took over. This will help breathe new life into it."
More by this authorJohn Nurden