£1.5million village hall project scrapped due to coronavirus

Wickham Market's village hall as it currently stands Picture: PHILIP TALLENT

Wickham Market's village hall as it currently stands Picture: PHILIP TALLENT - Credit: Archant

Villagers are hoping to still be able to improve their ageing hall despite plans for a £1.5million new building being scrapped.

Philip Tallent said that having to shelve the new build project was disappointing Picture: ARCHANT

Philip Tallent said that having to shelve the new build project was disappointing Picture: ARCHANT

A new state-of-the-art building had been planned for Wickham Market, which would have incorporated a village hall and an archive space for the local area.

It would have seen the creation of two hall areas as well as a stage and bar and kitchen space.

The archive would have been housed on the first floor of the building.

A planning application for the space was approved by the-then Suffolk Coastal District Council in the November 2018.

How the new village hall and archive would have looked like Picture: Plaice Design Co Ltd

How the new village hall and archive would have looked like Picture: Plaice Design Co Ltd - Credit: Plaice Design


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Since then, fundraising has been ongoing to try and make the project a reality.

Grants have been sought from various bodies and residents have stepped up to fundraise, with a variety of events including mass scone makings and escape rooms.

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In total £100,000 was raised, leaving the project still looking for £1.5million.

Members of the New Build Group, which have been arranging the project, agreed that there was little prospect of raising the funds needed because of the financial situation caused by the coronavirus.

As a result, it was decided that instead of the new build, a refurbishment project would be carried out instead to help make the existing village hall more usable.

The hall has been redecorated since the pandemic hit while groups have been away but consultation work will now be carried out to decide which areas of the hall need the work the most.

A long-term fundraising plan will then be created.

The village archive will remain in its current location while options are considered for its future.

Councillor Alan Biddle, who is also chairman of the New Build Group said: “This is disappointing, because Wickham Market deserves a new village hall, but we accept that financial priorities have changed.”

Philip Tallent, chairman of the Village Hall Trustees, said: “We will now look at all the refurbishment possibilities for the village hall and establish priorities that meet the needs of the users of our hall.

“All individuals and groups who have donated to the New Build project will be asked whether they are happy for their donation to be used for refurbishment”.

MORE: Plans revealed for a new £1.5m village hall for Wickham Market

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