Village could get its long-awaited hall
By Alison WithersONE of the region's prettiest villages could soon be able to build its long-awaited community hall.Lavenham Parish Council is hoping a plan for a village hall on part of the Glebe Meadow will get the go-ahead from Babergh District Council on Wednesday.
By Alison Withers
ONE of the region's prettiest villages could soon be able to build its long-awaited community hall.
Lavenham Parish Council is hoping a plan for a village hall on part of the Glebe Meadow will get the go-ahead from Babergh District Council on Wednesday.
If built, the hall will be the first new public building in Lavenham for many years.
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The need for a meeting place for the community was highlighted during a survey of the village's assets and possible future needs.
Lionel Baker, chairman of Lavenham Community Council, said the village had never had a proper meeting place.
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It had been using the grade I-listed Guildhall and the grade II-listed Victorian Church Rooms, but the cost and listing meant neither could be altered to meet modern-day needs, such as disabled access.
The new hall could cost about £750,000, but the parochial church council is contributing the Glebe Meadow at a peppercorn rent - as well as, hopefully, the proceeds of the sale of the Church Rooms.
The community council has promised £70,000 and the parish council £60,000 towards the cost, while a fundraising drive with a target of £100,000 has so far reached £40,000.
It is also hoped to get a grant of about £275,000 from the National Lottery and other funding from local authorities.
But not everyone in the village has agreed with the choice of the site for the hall, a piece of land near the heart of Lavenham and surrounded by listed buildings, and the council has received a petition from eight residents.
They were concerned about the effect of a new buildingon the setting of the nearby church within a conservation area and on land which is regarded as a local amenity.
There were also worries about the loss of trees on the meadow, all of which are protected by preservation orders.