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Sudbury: Groups relocate as ‘iconic’ venue is set to close

PUBLISHED: 13:54 22 May 2014

Georgeena Butler outside Sudbury Snooker Hall.

Georgeena Butler outside Sudbury Snooker Hall.

Concerns have been raised after it emerged that one of Sudbury’s most historic venues is to close.

Groups who use Sudbury Suffolk Conservative Club and its Victoria Hall building in Prince Street have been given notice that the venue
will close permanently from June 1 and have been told to find other premises.

Victoria Hall was built in 1887 with a stage, gallery and changing rooms. The imposing red brick building was widely used for shows and theatre performances before the Quay Theatre was established in the town.

Last night, no-one from the club was available to comment on the decision to close the venue, or on the future of the buildings.

One of the groups forced to find alternative premises is Sudbury and Long Melford Slimming World. The group’s consultant Georgeena Butler, said they had found it almost impossible to locate anywhere big enough to house 170 members.

She said: “We have been using Victoria Hall for the past two years and were really upset when we were given a few weeks’ notice to say we needed to be out by June 1.

“The problem is that there is a shortage of suitably large venues in Sudbury that can be booked during the day because they are all already being used for things like playgroups.

“We tried around 40 different venues with no luck but eventually, Sudbury Snooker Hall in North Street kindly agreed to put in some extra tables and chairs to accommodate us.”

Peter Thorogood, chairman of the Sudbury Society and a Conservative Club member, said it would be a shame if another of the town’s “iconic” buildings fell vacant. The society was keen to get a public hall included in plans for the Walnuttree Hospital site but the idea was dropped by the NHS.

Mr Thorogood is also concerned that the closure of the Conservative Club and Victoria Hall will leave a row of empty buildings at the top of North Street.

He said: “I believe that the club had problems with level of use but no-one seems to know what the plan is for the buildings in the long term.

“The Rotary Club used to meet there but moved away because it was looking a bit run down.

“A lot of people don’t appreciate how much it costs to keep a place like that going, but it will be very sad if it stays empty and Sudbury will have lost yet another venue.”

The Orwell Bridge remains open this morning but the strongest winds are expected after 8am.

One lane of the A12 was closed to traffic this morning, causing lengthy delays, due to a collision and oil spillage near Colchester.

These pictures from The Lattice Barn pub in Woodbridge Road will evoke fond memories for many from 1974.

A school near Bury St Edmunds is helping to raise funds to support education in Tanzania through a non-uniform day.

A Suffolk NHS trust has been ranked one of the best of the country, despite experiencing its most challenging winter on record.

Drivers are advised that it is “highly likely” the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk will shut during tomorrow morning’s rush hour amid forecasts of 65mph gusts.

A theatre workshop with a difference is making its way to Stowmarket for the first time this year.

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