Ambitious £500,000 Lyng village hall plan wins approval from Breckland Council

Lyng village sign. Photo: Steve Adams

Lyng village sign. Photo: Steve Adams

Ambitious proposals for a £500,000 new community hall in Lyng are one step closer to reality after the important milestone of gaining planning permission was achieved.

Breckland Council officers have given the green light to an application to replace the 60-year-old hall in the village, near Dereham.

The approval means the trustees can now press ahead with finding funding for the project, with a “stage one” application to the Big Lottery Fund due to be submitted later in the summer.

The proposed new Lyng and District Community Hall, which will also benefit the neighbouring village of Sparham, would occupy the same site as the current 1953-built hall, although it would be significantly larger.

The current designs, which were formed following consultations with villagers, incorporate a meeting room, a kitchen, toilets, and changing facilities. The draft plans also include a new access road from the existing entry in Richmond Place, which will serve a new car park to the rear of the building.

Michael Sayer, chairman of trustees for the Lyng and District Community Hall, said: “This is a milestone which marks the end of the preliminary phase, and the start of the most important phase.

“The original building has, more or less, come to the end of its time, and it is very difficult for a village the size of Lyng to get a new hall.

“We are dependent on external funding, and getting planning permission is the first stage in that process. The intention is to put a bid into the Lottery which, if successful, could lead to grants from other bodies.

“It will be quite an expensive thing to do, and building costs keep going up, so we need to make sure we have adequate funding. We have raised about £30,000 over the years, but we have had quite a lot of preliminary costs in getting our plans together, so the building itself will depend on outside funding.”

Mr Sayer’s family has been involved in the running of the hall since his grandfather, Capt James Sayer, originally gave the land to the parish in 1951.

As the former soldier was also president of the local branch of the Royal British Legion, Mr Sayer said the hall was originally conceived as a combination of a village hall and an ex-serviceman’s club – although its use has changed as the community evolved.

“In the old days it was used by the Women’s Institute and the British Legion, but now there are newer and often less formal groups who want to use it,” he said.

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