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Kettering Evening Telegraph 19th October 1982

Anger Over Ruined Hall

A pensioner is angry over the way a church hall has become a vandalised ruin. Preston Memorial Hall was once an important centre in the town's social life, said 76-year-old Mr Don Shaw. He accused church authorities of neglecting it and said the vandals should be ashamed.

He also claimed that people complaining there was nowhere for youngsters to go were responsible for its loss through inactivity or neglect. Mr Shaw said: "What gets my goat is the fact that one hears there is nothing for youngsters to do, and yet the hall was allowed to fall into disrepair."

St Mary's Parochial Church Council is managing trustee of the hall, which was built about 90 years ago, but has not been used for 20 years. It is earmarked for demolition, with plans to build houses on the site. Mr Shaw, who said it has become an eyesore ready for clearing, is concerned about whether a plaque in memory of Frederick Walter Preston JP will be re-sited.

Church council treasurer Mr Brian Mutlow said there were two plaques on the building and both would be preserved. He said the hall was not used to any extent after a youth club folded. Church functions transferred to the more accessable St Mary's School 15 to 20 years ago. "We could not afford to maintain a building which was not going to be used a lot." Maintenance of the regularly-used parish church was a prime concern. He thought the fact that Preston Hall was rather isolated might have been the reason for the non-use, and said the town was well served for small halls.

Efforts have been made to secure the building. But even metal bolted onto stonework has been ripped off. Demolition and sale of the sitehas been approved by the charity commission. Proceeds will go to a new meeting place adjoining the parish church

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