Village hall built by community could be knocked down for housing and replacement centre
PUBLISHED: 13:22 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:34 04 September 2019
A village hall which was crowd-funded four decades ago could be knocked down to make way for houses and a replacement centre and sports pitch.
Swanton Abbott Village Hall, near North Walsham, opened its doors in 1981, after a decade of hard work in the community which saw villagers rally to raise £8,000 towards the £22,000 cost of building the hall.
Nearly 40 years later, plans have been lodged to demolish the building to make way for 33 new houses, in a scheme that would see a new hall provided elsewhere in the village.
The bid has been lodged by Norwich-based homebuilders Heritage Developments Ltd, which wants to make use of land off The Poplars for a mixture of houses, bungalows and flats.
As part of the proposals, it would supply the village with a new hall further along The Poplars, south of the road and west of Long Common Lane and around 200m away from the existing one.
The new hall would come with a new access point off The Poplars, parking space for 35 vehicles and be accompanied by a 50x90m sports pitch.
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The proposed demolition of the current hall has been met with some sadness in the village, including from the Swanton Abbott Social Club, which bases itself there.
In a written response to the plans, the club's secretary said: "Villagers raised the money and helped to build our village hall in the 1970s and 80s. As such, it is still held in high affection by many villagers and they do not want to see it torn down.
"Swanton Abbott lacks many amenities, but one thing it does have is a village hall. It is perfectly adequate and with the help of grants and local effort it could be all that we need."
However, planning papers submitted by LanPro on behalf of the developers, said: "The provision of the new hall will provide for better quality facilities for the community, including a new hall, a sports pitch and a total of 36 car parking spaces.
"The community hall will be delivered as part of the residential development with ownership being handed over to the parish council."
The plans will be decided by North Norfolk District Council in due course.
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