VILLAGERS hope a last ditch attempt to replace Garsington’s crumbling village hall will end a four decade fight for a new facility.

The Oxford Road hall was built about 100 years ago on land donated to the village by the Morrell family, but locals say it is “on its last legs”.

They have been looking to build a new facility at a better location since the 1970s – but planners and landowners have turned them down nine different site options.

Now the village hall management board is hoping South Oxfordshire District Council will approve plans to rebuild the hall on the current site, opposite the Plough pub.

Villagers say the site is not ideal because it is in a designated a conservation area and parking space is limited, but it is the last resort.

Management board chairman David Baker said he was in talks with the district council over the board’s ambitions, although any plans were a long way from being officially presented to the planning authority.

He said: “The hall is on its last legs. The roof needs repairing, the floor is starting to buckle, the walls are disintegrating, the windows are falling out, the kitchen needs upgrading – how far do you want me to go?

“We’ve been looking for a replacement for about 35 or 40 years. We’ve tried nearly every avenue in the village and every time planning permission has been turned down. We must have tried about nine sites. This is a last-ditch attempt.”

A building survey last year estimated the current building needed £42,000 of repairs.

The timber structure would cost about £300,000 to rebuild.

It would be funded from parish council coffers, grants and fundraising if approved.

Mr Baker, of Kings Copse, Garsington, added: “This is the end of the road.

“If we don’t get permission for this I think we may struggle on until it becomes unusable, which won’t be very far down the road.”

The hall is used by groups including the parish council, Women’s Institute, Garsington Society and Garsington Playersbut Scout and Guide groups and a playgroup no longer use it.

Parish council chairman Godfrey Eden said: “It was a focal point of the village but some of the things have fallen away. The state of the hall no longer supports some of the functions so they have transferred to the social club.

“I suppose you could say the need for a new hall is desperate.

“A village hall can be the hub of the community, it provides a meeting place for the village.

“I would expect a new hall to regain some of the groups who may have gone elsewhere.”