Limes Communal Rooms to become Bassingbourn's village hall

The Limes in Bassingbourn was the setting for a volatile meeting of the NUWSS. Picture: Google Stree

The Limes in Bassingbourn was the setting for a volatile meeting of the NUWSS. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth is a relatively large community with good amenities, yet lacks a village hall - but that is set to change.

The historic Limes Communal Rooms has been given the green light to become a village hall and a permanent base for Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth Parish Council by South Cambs District Council.

In support of the High Street site application,  County Councillor Susan van de Ven drew on similarities in Melbourn - where she also represents. 

She said: "Bassingbourn is a large village with primary and secondary schools, health and dental services, shops and pub, and a relatively good bus service – but notable for the absence of a village hall.

"This planning application offers a unique opportunity for a village hall in a proven optimum village centre location.

"Some years ago, when the Melbourn Library Access Point was housed in an end-of-life portacabin on the Melbourn Village College site, consideration of a new site took on board learning from the successful example of Bassingbourn.

"It was well known that the move of the Bassingbourn Library Access Point from the village college to the Limes Communal Room, in a prime High Street location, had been the catalyst for a significant uptake in use.

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"This was a key factor in the choice of location for the Melbourn LAP at a new Melbourn Hub, in a walkable and visible High St location.

"The Melbourn LAP has gone from strength to strength and has helped to form part of a vibrant new community centre – something ready to be replicated in Bassingbourn, and it has been good to see continuous sharing of ideas and experience between the villages.

"The proposal for the addition of a parish council office makes eminent sense and will help make the parish council accessible to the public, and offer much needed space to a busy parish council serving a large community. 

"It is difficult to see another equally good opportunity for a village hall for Bassingbourn, and I hope very much that this opportunity will be seized.

"There will be much work ahead but there is an obvious head of steam and a strong sense of interest and commitment from the community to see the project to fruition."

The Limes, in Bassingbourn's High Street was historically a school building.

A school board was formed in 1874, and a new schoolhouse, with a schoolroom and two classrooms and a master’s house attached, was opened on the north side of the high street in 1877. 

The board school, which had accommodation for 344 pupils, was divided into separate departments for boys, girls, and infants until 1912, when they were combined under a single headmaster.

Organised sports and, in winter, free school meals, sponsored by Sidney Holland of Kneesworth Hall, were instituted in 1912.

Bassingbourn Village College opened in 1954 - so the older students went there instead, and in 1963 primary school children left the building too. 

The Old School building on the high street was subsequently used for the infants until 1990.

After this date the building became known as The Limes and serves as a community facility managed by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Change of use to a village hall means it will be  space for social activities and as a base for the parish council. Ancillary uses include as a community library and for health, education and indoor exercise.

There were concerns raised about traffic increase, but as it is used for some activities currently it was deemed that there wouldn't be a significant increase .

The parish council's Transport Report estimated that the proposed change of use would likely result in an increase in localised traffic by between 0.29 per cent and 0.6 per cent. The central village location means people would be more likely to travel using sustainable methods, like walking or cycling.

In total,  28 representations from the community were received  - all in support of the application.

The reasons include the Limes' central position in the village aids sustainable travel and carbon neutral aims, the building is an asset to good health and wellbeing of the community, the building already accommodates a number of local events and groups, there is a need for this type of amenity,  and the building is important due to its history and the proposal will make good use of it.

For the full report, see scambs.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s122187/Bassingbourn%20comittee%20report.pdf

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