The father of a young woman who hired a village hall the night it was trashed by vandals has offered to pay for repairs to keep the matter out of court.
The man has agreed to pay West Walton Village Hall committee £1,600 in damages over the next eight months in lieu of his daughter being prosecuted for her part in the incident.
The offer came as committee members decided to increase the village hall booking deposit from £50 to £100 for West Walton residents and ‘village friends’ – and to £200 for anyone living outside the village who have not hired it before.
The deposit amount was increased at a committee meeting on Tuesday, when members also decided they would approach the parish council to ask if it could help fund the installation of CCTV outside the building.
The hall was damaged on October 1, while it was being rented out for a birthday party.
When deputy chairman Lenner Mockford arrived the morning after she said the whole site resembled a “war zone”, with damage caused to everything from doors, windows and walls to toilets, lighting, curtains and mirrors.
She said the community’s response to the devastation had been “overwhelming” with numerous offers of help to clean-up and fundraise to help pay for the repairs needed.
“The village has been amazing and everyone has pulled together,” said Mrs Mockford. “It’s made us realise just how valued the village hall is to the community and makes all the effort worthwhile.”
Mrs Mockford said a legal agreement has been drawn up with the father of the girl who hired the village hall for the birthday party to ensure it is paid back.
“He said he’d pay whatever the cost of the damage was, which was £1,600, instead of us prosecuting,” she said. “If it’s not paid we will start prosecution proceedings.”
She also said although the committee did not want to increase the booking desposit, they felt it was necessary to help protect themselves from similar incidents in future.
The committee will kick-start its fundraising efforts next Saturday, October 22, when it holds a village auction with well-known TV auctioneer David Palmer at noon. Villagers can take items they would like to sell, in return for a small percentage of takings in aid of the village hall.
Items can be taken to the hall in advance the Friday before, all day, or from 10am to noon on the Thursday.