Woman banned from village hall for asking if it be a warm space

Woman banned from village hall for asking if it be a warm space

Cheryl Agg can now only go into the hall for ward council meetings (Image: Cheryl Agg/Twitter)

A woman was barred from her meetinghouse after asking if it could be a “warm place” for struggling families.

Churches open more and more warm spaces – heated common rooms for people with cold apartments – this winter in the livelihood crisis.

Cheryl Agg, a local councilor living in Woodmancote, Gloucestershire, suggested in a Facebook post in November that the Hall could become such a space.

“It would be interesting to hear if residents plan to use Woodmacote Village Hall as a warm spot this winter?” She said.

She pointed out that grants have been made available by Tewkesbury Borough Council to transform the hall into a “free, welcoming space to which residents can go when in need”.

But she was stunned to discover the community committee was holding a “kangaroo court” that ended in a house ban.

Councilor says move is both nonsensical and “divisive” (Image: Cheryl Agg)

“It came out of the blue – it was a complete surprise. We’re a community,” she said of the “code of conduct” hearing.

‘I do not understand.’

Under the committee’s ban, Agg is banned from attending events held at the hall, including social gatherings such as birthday parties, for three months.

The only exception to this rule is attendance at ward council meetings in the hall that the council owns and leases to the meetinghouse committee.

In a letter to Agg about her ban, committee members said they were “shocked” by Agg’s Facebook post.

Members asked that a debate on their “recent conduct and activities” be included on the agenda for the December 17 meeting.

“This came as quite a surprise, even a shock, to many of us as none of us have been in contact to determine if the premises were indeed a suitable place under this program,” the letter reads.

Community committee members say the building is not fit to be a warm room (Image: Cheryl Agg)

“When we became aware of the warm space concept, we talked about it briefly and immediately saw that the community center in its current form was not and could not be suitable.”

The committee said, as much as it supports the warm room program, the meetinghouse is not a “suitable place” for it.

“Our main concern with this post is that it is likely to cause potential harm to infirm villagers who need assistance,” the letter added.

“It is also likely that the meetinghouse, meetinghouse committee and even the ward council will be brought into disrepute if it is found not to be open to them.

“It’s likely to generate a lot of anger and potentially serious reactions against the meetinghouse building, the meetinghouse committee, and most likely negative comments about yourself.”

The committee voted unanimously to impose the three-month ban.

Agg, who is not a committee member, said: “I find it quite divisive. To be honest, I don’t say that for myself.

“It’s for every other poor soul that gets caught up in something like this. You may not be able to take your grandchild to the recreation ground or watch them play cricket on a Sunday in the summer.

“It’s so divisive and I don’t understand what they’re trying to achieve.”

According to campaign group End Fuel Poverty Coalition, more than 16.4 million people will face fuel poverty this winter – meaning they cannot afford to heat their homes to a decent temperature.

That’s more than double the number of people struggling to keep their homes warm in 2020, a number expected to rise as fuel costs soar.

Low-income families, who spend more of their money on basic necessities like food and energy, have been disproportionately hit by months of double-digit inflation, said Simon Francis, coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.

Francis told Metro.co.uk: “The sad reality of life is that people are increasingly turning to charities and public spaces to try and keep warm.

File photo dated 08/02/07 of a gas cooker with a British Gas invoice.  Energy giant Centrica has said it expects to do better than experts were predicting, although recent mild weather has hurt profits at its subsidiary British Gas.  The company said the latest numbers seem to indicate that many of the analysts covering the development may be making overly cautious predictions.  Issue date: Thursday November 10, 2022. PA Photo.  See PA story CITY Centrica.  Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Soaring gas prices have prompted a wave of ‘warm rooms’ (Image: PA)

“Failing to keep people warm this winter will complicate health issues for the elderly or those with heart and lung conditions that are particularly badly affected.

“Encouraging public buildings to support warm spaces can help offset the impact of living in fuel poverty and provide a welcome respite for struggling families.”

However, Francis stressed that many village halls are also struggling to pay for rising fuel costs.

“For this reason, some local authorities have introduced schemes to help village halls run warm spaces,” he added, “but more support for these spaces from central government will always be welcome.”

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Woodmancote Council for comment.

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