A CAR which smashed into a church hall caused more than £15,000 worth of damage during a crash at a polling station. 

The St Luke’s Church hall sustained significant damage after a driver tried to reverse but instead jolted forward.

It is understood that the motorist had just voted at the polling station, in Winton, in the church itself.

Bournemouth Echo: Hole in the wall at St Luke's church hall

Martin Jennings, the administrator for the Parish of Winton, Moordown and Charminster, said the driver was “shaken up” but was working with the parish.

His car sustained ‘minimal damage’ and he was able to drive home.

Martin was at home and had just put his dinner in the oven when he heard what had happened.

“We just jumped in the car and came straight away,” he said.

Rector of the parish, the Reverend Canon Michael Smith, said he arrived at 7.30pm on Thursday to see “a hole in the wall”.

Bournemouth Echo: Martin Jennings and the Rev'd Canon Michael Smith at St Luke's church hall.

Initial assessments have been made to assess the cost of damages. 

“We’re still waiting for the structural engineer,” Martin said.

Michael added: “I think we’ve said £15,000 to £20,000 as an initial, very rough indication of what might be required.

“It’s all down to the structural engineer, but we don’t know yet the full extent of the damage, because it is quite a hole.

“The key is the contractors, that will be the delay.”

Bournemouth Echo: Damage to the hall inside the kitchen.

Canon Smith said the hall is busy every day of the week and the parish will be working with the groups that rent it to find solutions until the hole is fixed.

“The concern is this is our busiest hall, so it’s booked out most days from morning to evening,” he said.

“The preschool here, East Cliff, use the kitchen so we’ll have to sort out a safe solution with them.

“We have the scouts twice a week, so a whole host of community groups, there’s a huge amount of community use that it gets.

“We’ll work with them, and the fact we have a big building next door, that ok hasn’t got toilets, but if we need to, that can be used as well.”

Bournemouth Echo: Crack in the wall at St Luke's church hall.

Despite the damage, the vicar said “at the end of the day it is only bricks”.

“It’s not the end of the world, stuff happens,” he said.

“It’s one of those things, nobody was hurt, the driver was shaken but it could have been a whole lot worse.”