A SPECIAL parish council meeting is to be held in Porlock to consider ideas for the future use of the Old School Centre.

The topic will also be discussed at the parish council’s annual meeting in the village hall on Wednesday evening (July 10).

It follows a decision by the information and craft centre which currently uses the building to relocate in a joint venture with Miles Tea and Coffee Co to the Vale Yard, High Street, in November.

The Old School Centre will continue to be home to the parish council, the Lovelace Community Resource Centre, and the community library.

The information and craft centre is managed by Porlock Vale Community Interest Company (PVCIC), which said it was creating ‘something very special for Porlock’.

Councillors carried out a public consultation to ask villagers for their views on how best to use the building in future.

The findings were reported to the council last month with suggestions covering a range of commercial and non-commercial ideas and a focus on flexible or dedicated space in one or both of the rooms.

Cllr Lesley Thornton said without replacing the lost income the council would have to meet the rates bill and utility costs, which would mean a five per cent increase in the amount of money raised from council taxpayers on top of the costs of any material changes.

Councillors agreed more work was required to understand the costs involved in any future proposals and called for an extraordinary meeting to consider the proposals and next steps.

They also received a Somerset Wildlife Trust report on the centre’s community garden and felt between them and the community they had enough experience and knowledge to carry out their own study.

It was felt access to the garden should be a priority so it could be accessible to all, and some recently discovered Porlock Pippin apple trees could be planted.

Councillors agreed to set up a working group with its first task being to carry out a survey on current vegetation and plan the next steps to help deliver the council’s biodiversity commitment with value for money.