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New Scratby hall could be beacon

PUBLISHED: 10:01 24 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 July 2010

A new village hall serving a cluster of communities will be a place where people can meet, celebrate and carry out a range of activities and sports.

Around 40 people at a public meeting in Ormesby St Margaret to discuss the plans heard that the new facility at Scratby would hopefully be held up as a beacon to other communities.

A new village hall serving a cluster of communities will be a place where people can meet, celebrate and carry out a range of activities and sports.

Around 40 people at a public meeting in Ormesby St Margaret to discuss the plans heard that the new facility at Scratby would hopefully be held up as a beacon to other communities.

Comprising two halls linked by a “service core” the new energy efficient building aims to blend with its rural surroundings. Norwich-based architects Owen Bond Partnership told the meeting that an earlier, modern design featuring a wave-like roof was dismissed as “an alien form” and that eventually they looked to farming traditions for their inspiration.

The village hall, residents were told, would be as green as the budget allowed - although many of the measures that would make it totally sustainable were beyond their pocket but could be within reach as technologies improve.

Parish council chairman Geoff Freeman said the building put function ahead of style and that the plans on show were the result of years of consultation, visiting halls around the region and cherry picking what worked and what did not.

All communities, he said, were unanimous about the importance of storage - the more the better, because uncluttered rooms were more flexible.

Mr Freeman said the building comprised two halls, one multi-function that could include sports with toughened/shuttered windows and the other furnished to a higher standard, for events like the celebration of family milestones, clubs and meetings.

People in the audience raised concerns about the position and concept of the hall. But Mr Freeman said the idea of two halls - one with a larger function room and another sports-based at the playing field was a non-starter in terms of planning permission and finances. The site in Scratby he said was the only possible slice of land that could serve the 5000-strong parish split between Ormesby, Scratby and California.

The same questioner said he had not been consulted and that the there was too much under one roof, adding: “I think it will probably fail because nothing will be big enough to do what you want.” Mr Freeman said there had been wide consultation, adding: “We have not done this on the back of a fag packet.”

The meeting was told the hall would cost an estimated £450k. Some pieces of the funding jigsaw are already in place with grants from borough and county councils, around 50k coming from the Diocesan's sale of the old school on the village green and the rest from the Governments public works loans board, the parish precept and a soon-to-be launched local fundraising appeal.

Other questions related to the exact location of the building on the site, the results of test bore-holes and the arrangements of the lease.

There was some concern about the lack of Scratby folk at last Thursday's meeting which clashed with a charity function and various other events and meetings. Outline planning permission was granted in 2005.

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