Volunteers’ big rent hike relief


Volunteers who feared a 780 per cent rent hike by Crawley Borough Council would force them out of a community building were thrilled when it agreed to pay for it all.

Montefiore Institute Management Committee, which is known as the ‘Monte’, runs The Montefiore Institute, Hazelwick Road, Three Bridges.

The council owns and rents out about half of the building’s car park to the group. Volunteers said it hoped to turn it into a commercial car park after the group’s lease expired this month.

The Monte has now been awarded 100 per cent Discretionary Rate Relief for the rent, which was due to increase from £500 to £3,900 per year, because of its ‘strong contribution and social value to the local community’, said a council spokesman.

Chairman Stella Berrisford said: “It’s absolutely amazing - we are really so thrilled to be able to carry on without this worry.”

She said the extra £500 per year will first be used to replace a 110-year-old door and window frame in the historic hall. The Institute remains a key part of the community and plays host to a number of clubs and classes such as the Brownies, Pilates and the WI. It is also home to the Crawley Arts Society. The Institute is also one of Crawley’s longest standing polling stations.