September 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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.”