Suffolk villagers ‘really impressed’ by latest ‘hall for all’ proposals

Residents turned out to see the new plans for Wickham Market Village Hall and Archive Centre. Pictur

Residents turned out to see the new plans for Wickham Market Village Hall and Archive Centre. Picture: GLEN READ - Credit: Archant

More than 100 people gave views on village hall proposals as part of a £1.5 million project which has been three years in the making.

Residents turned out to see the new plans for Wickham Market Village Hall and Archive Centre. Pictur

Residents turned out to see the new plans for Wickham Market Village Hall and Archive Centre. Picture: GLEN READ - Credit: Archant

Wickham Market Village Hall New Build Group said residents attending Saturday’s meeting were “really impressed” by the options on show.

The group has been developing proposals for a new village hall incorporating the Wickham Market Area Archive Centre to replace existing facilities, which have become dated.

Group chairman Margaret Holland said the aim was to provide a “hall for all”, suitable the wide variety of groups and organisations in the village.

Saturday’s meeting saw villagers asked to give views on two options produced by Plaice Design, which vary mainly on whether the archive centre is on the ground or first floor, the size of the hall’s footprint and available space for car parking.

The designs have been produced by Plaice Design. Picture: GLEN READ

The designs have been produced by Plaice Design. Picture: GLEN READ - Credit: Archant

Ms Holland said 120 people gave their views. “Generally, they’ve been really impressed by the work that has been done so far,” she added. “We want to provide a ‘hall for hall’ to bring in as many different users as possible. We are trying to improve the facilities to get the bookings back again. And we also want to encourage the artistic side of the village by having display areas with the appropriate lighting.”

The decision to include the archive centre was taken three years ago after residents were consulted on different options.

Most Read

Ms Holland said the it was a “very vibrant” centre but its current base across three portable cabins was not suitable. The new facilities will help prevent archive materials falling into disrepair.

The new build group was formed after the remit for the village hall was agreed. It faced initial delays, however, while establishing itself as a charitable organisation, Since then, it has been developing proposals and raising funds.

The designs have been produced by Plaice Design. Picture: GLEN READ

The designs have been produced by Plaice Design. Picture: GLEN READ - Credit: Archant

Around £60,000 of Section 106 funding is available for the project, which is being supported by local fundraising efforts, including from the parish council.

Once the designs are agreed, National Lottery funding will be sought to cover the shortfall in funding which is expected to cost £1.5-£1.6m. The bidding process is likely to take up to 18 months, while the built itself is hoped to be competed in 42 weeks.

People who want to find out more about the project can call Ms Holland on 01728 747176.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter