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A new village hall for Marshland St James a step closer

PUBLISHED: 23:43 22 May 2015 | UPDATED: 23:43 22 May 2015

West Norfolk villagers are a step closer to building their dream community centre after securing initial funding to get the project underway.

The committee behind the project in Marshland St James, near Wisbech, have been awarded just over £21,000 by the Big Lottery Fund.

And last night (Thursday night) they celebrated the news at a public meeting in Jubilee Hall, one of the outdated buildings that will be replaced with a brand new £750,000 facility.

Their plans for the centre include a community shop, changing rooms that meet Football Association Standards and a hall with a fully-equipped stage for local productions.

Martin Peckitt, a trustee, said: “This is fantastic news. We very excited to get to this stage of the process.”

He explained their Lottery application has had to go through a number of stages already.

With stage 2 of the process now officially approved, this has unlocked funds to support the next application for further funds and appoint professionals to support the project.

Mr Peckitt said: “This means we can now appoint an architect to help us develop plans and a quantity surveyor.

“We can also get professional advice on submitting such an extensive planning application – the funding is such a huge help.”

He added: “We can submit final plans that will explain how the building will work, how it will sustain itself and what it will really do for the community.

“We have a great community here in Marshland St James, and we really want to provide an excellent facility.”

The entire project will involve demolishing the pavilion and the existing Jubilee Hall and replacing them with the multipurpose facility on the playing field in Smeeth Road.

A business model where profits made from the shop are ploughed back into the centre is also being explored.

The committee have spent the last 18 months working on the project, which has involved organising a series of fundraising events.

Lee Chapman, Chairman of the committee, added: “We’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in fundraising efforts for the building so far.”

- Is your village working on a massive project? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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