Long-held dream finally realised as Scratby’s ‘intelligent’ village hall opens

NORFOLK'S newest village hall was opened to an approving public with glass chinking and chatter filling its spacious rooms.

The completion of All Saints Parish Hall in Scratby marks the end of a 40 year dream for the community which is already making good use of the �600,000 'intelligent' facility, reckoned among the most modern in the county.

The seaside village and its family of parishes including Ormesby and California can boast a prestigious, flexible building with wide windows and farmland views.

Deputy mayor Barry Coleman said its high specification was on a par with historic St George's Theatre, built 300 years ago as the best it could be in its day.

Proud chairman of Ormesby with Scratby Parish Council Geoff Freeman thanked all those who had been instrumental in getting the hall built, especially those who had not lived to see it including Babs Smith, Joan Wharton, Ron Eminson and Rev Neil Spencer.

'Its been an incredible journey,' he said. 'We have tried to create an experience and it is without doubt a lovely hall.

'We are three communities and one parish.'

Most Read

Mr Freeman took on the baton from his predecessors in 1999, visiting 31 halls to come up with the perfect combination of space, storage, parking, flexibililty and cost.

He said 90pc of the work was done by local contractors. Although completed on budget the process had not always been smooth, the Olympics and banking crisis eating into funding amid real fears that the whole of Scratby would be plunged into darkness if the hall were connected to mains electricity.

'We want this to become a village hub,' Mr Freeman said. 'There are a lot of elderly people who may not have family locally so we would like to start up a luncheon club, and computer club for silver surfers who can learn to skype and send emails.'

A plaque commemorating the opening was unveiled by Mr Freeman and Mr Coleman. Mr Coleman said it was 'marvellous' that a small parish could achieve such a prestigious building that other communties would now look to as an example of what could be done.

Handing over the key to Adrian Beck, Mr Freeman said: 'Its been my baby for a year and now its yours.'

Desribed as 'team captain' Mr Freeman was presented with an engraved letter knife, and his wife Joan was handed a bouquet.

Jim Bratton, chairman of the Scratby and California Residents Club, said members had not been able to meet in the village for years and would be making a welcome return, hopefully helping the 40-strong club to grow and serve more people on its doorstep.

Five groups are already using the hall with many more making enquiries. Family film screenings are among events planned.

The hall has been named after All Saints Church in Scratby which was dismantled in the 16th century.

To find out more about booking the hall call Chris Ellis on 01493 733861 or 07878817280.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter