THE PAROCHIAL Hall in Cushendun has been placed on the market with a Diocese of Down and Connor spokesperson saying the proceeds of the sale will go towards parish debt.
Although The Chronicle believes feeling in the parish is split following the announcement, SDLP Cllr Margaret Anne McKillop has vowed to approach Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council to carry out an assessment of the community needs in the village.
The Chronicle understands that the news regarding the sale of the Parochial Hall only filtered through when a community group set up to deal with village renewal approached the Diocese with plans for renovate the hall as a community hub.
The March bulletin also informed members of the Cushendun and Torr parish that the finance committee had received a letter from the Diocese to say proceeds from the sale of the hall would go towards current parish debt to the solidarity fund.
Although there are calls for the building to be handed over to the community and suggestions that a crowdfunding page be set up to let the community buy it, a Diocese spokesperson said the parish is legally obliged to follow legislation outlined in the Charities Act 2008.
Speaking to The Chronicle, Cllr Margaret Anne McKillop said: “In these circumstances where the Parochial Hall has been confirmed to be on the market, I believe it is appropriate for Causeway Coast and Glens Council to become involved in carrying out an assessment of the needs of the people of Cushendun and the surrounding area.
As well as the calls for the sale to be stopped, people questioned why Cushendun wasn't getting a newly revamped hall, comparing the village to other areas in the borough. Parishioners said they hoped it would be a sympathetic buyer with the parish's best interests at heart.
One woman, who used to reside in Cushendun told The Chronicle that it was “a disgrace” that the parish hall could be sold like that without any consultation with the community.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Down and Connor told The Chronicle: “The Diocese of Down and Connor can confirm that, following a condition survey of the parochial hall and a period of consultation and review of the parish sacramental and pastoral needs, it has been decided by the Parish of Cushendun to place the parochial hall on the market with the proceeds of the sale going towards addressing parish debt.
For the full story see this week's Chronicle