Cromer community hall starts new era

A meeting hall at Cromer is throwing open its doors to the community and planning for a new future.

The former Women's Institute Hall in Garden Street has just been signed across to the Cromer Community Association on a 125-year lease.

Now the new committee is seeking to increase usage and improve facilities at the town centre building.

The WI gave up the hall in 2008 after 50 years because running it was getting too much for the club. The town council stepped in to save the facility for community use through a two year lease, rather than it being sold on the open market. But its longer-term future was steered into the hands of a community charity, which could reduce rent commitments and get more access to grants.

Its chairman Phil Harris, who first got involved with the saga when he was mayor, said the 'peppercorn' lease from the Women's Institute - which gave the community the building in return for free use for WI meetings, was a 'good arrangement for everyone'.

The committee, a co-operative of hall users, was now aiming to increase the number of bookings - which currently include yoga classes, preservation society meetings, and commercial book sales.

'We have had rock bands rehearsing here, and would like to attract playgroups or mother and toddler groups to fill gaps in the mornings,' he added. 'The more users we have, the more money we get for improvements.'

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Plans included projection equipment - through a �700 Norfolk Community Fund grant already secured - to help host speakers, as well as creating a committee room for smaller meetings, and updating the kitchen, said Mr Harris.

To hire the hall contact booking clerk Sally Gill on 07874215026.