A church is hoping to raise funds to modernise its community hall and “significantly” increase the number of people using it.

Christ Church North Finchley is planning a £79,000 revamp of The Stephens Hall in High Road.

Around 150 adults and 160 children use the hall every week, taking part in badminton, dance, exercise classes, coffee mornings and other activities.

But having received little investment since it was built in 1938, the facilities are in need of an upgrade, according to the hall committee.

Under the guidance of the Christ Church church council, the committee has drawn up plans to install double-glazed windows and upgrade the kitchen and toilet facilities.

Cllr Anne Hutton (Labour, Woodhouse) submitted a bid for £25,000 of funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – a pot of money Barnet Council receives from developers – to support the church’s plans.

Will Hawkes, a member of the parochial church council at Christ Church North Finchley, spoke in support of the plans at a meeting of Finchley and Golders Green area committee on Monday (February 3).

Mr Hawkes said: “The facilities are very dated. Perhaps 50 per cent of people who come to us asking to use the hall then turn around and say, ‘it is not what we need’.

“That is why we have the programme to upgrade the facilities – particularly the kitchen, toilets and disabled toilets.”

But there was some disagreement among councillors about whether the scheme was eligible for CIL funding.

Cllr Peter Zinkin (Conservative, Childs Hill) said: “I understand exactly the need to do this. My difficulty is we have not addressed grant applications of this sort at this committee before.

“If we give you the money, I can think of at least 200 other organisations, if they know this money is available, who have got exactly the same needs as you.”

Cllr Zinkin said council officers had been asked to draw up a policy setting out how the committee should deal with the type of application.

But Cllr Hutton said she had been told by an officer she was doing the right thing by bringing the church’s bid to the committee.

Cllr Zinkin replied that area committees used to have a generous budget and were able to give grants – but after their budgets were cut, and they came to rely on CIL money only, they had stopped funding this kind of project.

Councillors agreed to defer a decision on the church’s funding bid until officers had reviewed the committee’s funding policy.