Concerns are raised over hall charges

Killearn village hall
Killearn village hall

Killearn Village Hall management committee has firmly

denied an accusation this week that local people can no longer afford to rent the hall.

The hall is run and managed by not-for-profit Killearn Community Futures Company (KCFC) after ownership was transferred to them from Stirling Council at the end of 2012.

They secured a £1.4 million grant plus £350,000 in donations and other grants to refurbish the building on Balfron Road, and it was transformed into a state-of-the-art facility with a kitchen.

The new premises opened in July 2013 as an ideal venue for events such as weddings, conferences, training sessions and meetings. However, one Killearn resident, who asked not to be named, alleges that local people can no longer afford to use their own hall because they are being forced to use in-house caterers, Three Sisters Bake, who run the cafe there.

The resident claims this makes it unaffordable for many local residents.

However, chairman of Killearn Village Hall Operations Committee, Brian Simmers, said: “I’m disappointed that an anonymous resident has gone to the press rather than discuss these concerns with our committee, which is made up of hard-working volunteers from the village.

“The allegation that local people can no longer afford to rent the hall is just not true, as confirmed by the increase in our level of bookings.

“During our first year we allowed outside caterers for weddings/major events, but had serious problems with lack of supervision, lack of control of bar operation, cleanliness of kitchen/coffee shop , which were required for the following morning, non-adherence to the agreed finishing time of 1am, late night call-outs of volunteers, and so on.

“The hall owners (KCFC) and operations committee agreed that this could only be remedied through our own responsible, in-house caterers and they were granted exclusivity for weddings and major events, although self-catering hall users are also warmly welcomed.

“This policy was discussed and accepted at KCFC’s public AGM and explained in the Killearn Courier which is distributed to every household in the village. This arrangement does not affect affordability for use of the hall as Three Sisters Bake are very competitive and of the highest quality - the number of local and further afield bookings confirm this.”