Kenninghall braced for new community hall

Villagers could be celebrating the opening of a new community hall by the end of the year as part of a project that will see the building of 12 new homes.

Community leaders in Kenninghall and a developer gathered at the site of the existing village hall, which will be turned into housing under a project that will see the construction of a �500,000 modern facility on a neighbouring piece of green space.

Plans have been in the pipeline since 1999 to replace the ageing Kenninghall Memorial Hall, which was constructed in the 1950s.

Work on the new hall and housing development, off School Close, by Newbury Developments, comes after planning permission was granted by Breckland councillors in 2009 to demolish and build 12 new homes on the site of the community facility.

And if planning permission is granted for the new hall soon, construction could begin next month.

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Developer Matthew Newbury said the new community facility would be bigger and would be more energy efficient.

'We have worked very closely with Kenninghall Parish Council and the Memorial Hall Committee to make sure this building will be as eco-friendly as possible, and having done so, I will also be using the same solutions and techniques in the homes we are building,' he said.

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The new building will be almost twice the size of its predecessor and will offer vastly improved heating and lighting systems with the environment as the main focus. Air source heat pumps, solar panels and a 'warm roof' will mean minimal running costs.

Stephen Gordon, chairman of Kenninghall Parish Council, said the council was making contingency plans to be without a community hall for a few months.

'After years of trying to get this project off the ground we know how much the village will appreciate the new hall and the buzz around Kenninghall is already brilliant.'

Peter Kay, chairman of the Memorial Hall committee, added that the housing development was the best way of funding the new hall.

'The design will drastically reduce running costs despite the extra space, and will in turn allow us to offer more activities within the community,' he said.

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