BRAMLEY'S two community halls are about to embark on a tug of war for the lion's share of more than £360,000 for improvements to their premises.

The sum of £364,500, which has been contributed for community facilities by developers who have built housing estates in the area, is to be used to expand Bramley Village Hall and the Clift Meadow pavilion.

Basingstoke council's Cabinet on Tuesday agreed a proposal by Bramley Parish Council that both organisations should draw up detailed plans and costings for their improvement schemes. But whereas the parish council envisaged the money being split evenly between the two community halls, the Cabinet decided this might not be the case.

The newly-appointed Cabinet member for recreation and culture, Cllr Alison Wall, said: "The funding will be split according to the needs of each building rather than the exact figures that the parish council has suggested.

"When we get the figures from the plans and costings, the split will be discussed with the parish council. There is no reason why the choice of the parish council should not be pursued on that basis in Bramley."

Parish councillor, and village hall chairman, Pauline Walker told the Cabinet that at their last meeting the parish council had decided £170,000 should go to the village hall and the same amount to Clift Meadow - with £23,000 to go for car parking improvements at the village church. But this had to be dropped after borough council officers pointed out that developers' contributions could not be used for church car parking.

She said the village hall really needed the money urgently to provide extra storage space plus a "quiet room" for meetings away from the main hall. Recently, Southern Electric had agreed to move an electricity pylon in the way of the storage extension for free - instead of the £10,000 they had originally said they would charge.

At Clift Meadow the plan is to demolish a barn, extend the pavilion and build a ball court.

The Cabinet authorised Cllr Wall to release the developers' contributions when the parish council makes its decision based on the plans and costings prepared by the two community hall organisations.

Originally, Basingstoke council had planned to use the money to build a new community centre on Forge Fields - but a survey in the village showed residents were in favour of using it to improve existing facilities.