�1m plan for new village hall at Great Ellingham, near Attleborough

Villagers had the opportunity to vote on a Norfolk village's new �1m hall at a public meeting this week.

Up to 55 Great Ellingham residents were given two choices for a new building to replace the current ageing village hall in Watton Road at the recreation centre meeting on Wednesday.

One option was to keep using the current hall until the new facility had been built next door, then retain the current hall to be used as a pavilion by village sports teams, including football and cricket, while the new hall would accommodate the other village groups.

The other choice was to demolish the old building and move all the sports teams and village groups into the new facility.

Ann Milner, sub-committee chairman of the village hall building fund, said the visitors were given two stickers and had to put both on their preferred choice or one on each option if they were unsure.

She anticipated the total cost of the hall would be between �850,000 and �1m, but could not be certain until a definite plan for the hall was known. Of this, the sub-committee would need to raise 10pc of the total cost while the rest of the money would come from grant funding.

The new hall would be eco-friendly and use renewable energy, possibly from air or ground source heat pumps or solar panels.

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Mrs Milner said the current hall was an old sports pavilion brought on the back of a lorry from north Norfolk and was not really suitable for the growing number of groups and clubs in the village, including a pre-school, bingo club and a chit chat centre which enables residents to catch up over a cup of tea.

The results of the consultation are due by the end of this month and Mrs Milner said the sub-committee would not be taking long to draw up plans for the new hall once the preferred option was known.

She added: 'About 55 people attended the meeting, which on a cold night we felt was absolutely brilliant. Great Ellingham has many younger residents and a vibrant community spirit and that is why we wanted a building to reflect and accommodate that.'

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