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Hill Rise Community Association

Our History

The houses in Bach Close and Novello Close were built as part of the Greater London Overspill Scheme along with a small building on the edge of Gershwin Road. When the Overspill Scheme realised it did not need the houses, they were taken over by Basingstoke Council who sold them off as private housing. At a time when mortgage rates and house prices were rising rapidly they represented good value as the Council sold them at cost price.

As the new home owners moved in they formed co-operatives to build garages and began to ask questions about the empty boarded-up building between the two roads, believing it could be put to good use as a community resource.

In 1979 a public meeting was called by Basingstoke Council with the help of the Basingstoke Council of Community Service. So many people attended this meeting that they couldn't all be accommodated in the Hall. From this meeting a Steering Committee was formed, hopeful that lots of community activities could be organised and the local residents gave a lot of their time to planning events. Their enthusiasm, however, was cut short when it was discovered that the Hall did not have planning permission for use as a community centre. A change to the permission was applied for leading to many frustrating weeks pending the outcome. Frustration turned to dismay when the application was turned down on the grounds that the building was too close to the houses to be used for the types of activities the Steering Committee had planned.

While awaiting the decision on the planning application the Steering Committee had continued with their plans for an opening event, assuming the application would be granted. It was fortunate that the then Mayor of Basingstoke, Bob O'Bee, had been invited to the dance that had been organised to open the Hall who, upon hearing of the dismissal of the planning application, had the subject raised at the full Council meeting and overturned.

Following this victory, the Steering Committee adopted the name of Brighton Hill Rise Community Association with a constitution, provision for the hire of the Hall and a bank account. In the years that followed, the Brighton element of the name was dropped to avoid confusion with Brighton Hill Community Association. The Hill Rise Community Association later successful in its application to become a registered charity.

Since its inception, the Hill Rise Community Association has held a wide variety of events. Our activities have included dog shows, an auction, jumble sales, fetes, dances, plays, games evenings, trips to the theatre, entries in the Basingstoke Carnival, carol concerts and lotteries to name but a few!

Over the past 35+ years we have received a tremendous amount of support from the Borough Council, County Council, Basingstoke Voluntary Services and the local residents of Brighton Hill past an present who have dedicated so much of their time to help keep the Hall going. The most challenging time came in August 1995 when arsonists set light to some bins outside late at night that spread to the Hall. Despite the devastation, hard work by the Council and local volunteers meant that the Hall was made safe, refurbished and re-opened just 7 months later.

Today, the Hall remains as busy as it ever was with a host of regular hirers offering classes and companionship. The Hill Rise Community Association remains strong with a recent influx of new volunteers to the Committee ensuring the Association continues to provide a service to the local residents.