STUDLEY Village Hall could be ‘lost’ as it’s faced with a £33,500 rent bill.

The hall is run and maintained by Studley Village Hall Management Committee but is owned by the parish council.

For the last 50 years, the management team have paid a peppercorn annual rent agreement of £1 but now Studley Parish Council has significantly bumped up the price.

Speaking on behalf of the management committee, chairman, Matt Fox, said the hall is used by a variety of community groups that hire the space for a very low cost.

“There’s no way we could recoup the charges, as the groups could not afford that,” said Mr Fox.

Redditch Advertiser: Inside the village hall. Inside the village hall.

“We struggle to make ends meet and don’t have any excess funds.

“If the parish council insist on the rent increase, then the hall will be lost.

“They could also take back the hall from us as they are the landlord. “

Mr Fox said they were notified of the rent hike in April, but it came out of the blue.

He said on July 14 the parish council reminded the committee that the rent was due in two days and since then the committee has not received any communication from them.

Redditch Advertiser: Chairman of Studley Village Hall Management Committee, Matt Fox. Chairman of Studley Village Hall Management Committee, Matt Fox.

The committee paid their historic peppercorn rent and were told they owed £33,499.

In a statement, Studley Parish Council said that following audit reviews from the last two years, it needs to be “working more efficiently” to manage its assets.

“The council is looking after publicly owned property and is expected to manage it responsibly for the benefit of the local Studley council taxpayers,” said a spokesperson.

“The village hall rent review was conducted by an independent qualified surveyor as a starting point for rent negotiations which have been requested but have yet to be taken up.

“That offer to the management committee still stands.”