'Dishevelled' 99-year-old village hall could be demolished and replaced
PUBLISHED: 19:20 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 19:35 28 November 2018
Poringland’s “dishevelled” village hall could soon be replaced by a new £1.7m community facility.
The corrugated iron building has served as everything from a men’s club to a doctor’s surgery over the past 99 years.
But almost a century of constant use has left the structure, located on The Street, looking worse for wear.
Now, the All Saints’ Church, which owns the land, is hoping to raise £1.7m to rebuild the hall and bring it into the 21st century.
Parish rector Rev Robert Parsonage said: “We have ongoing problems with leakages, and over the winter earlier this year we had a pipe burst in the kitchen.
“It is a much needed facility and the existing building is in use every day.”
The church has already received planning permission for the new ‘All Saints Centre’, which will include a cafe, a community kitchen and main hall.
The fundraising campaign was launched last autumn and the church is hoping for building work to begin within the next two years.
Mr Parsonage said £400,000 had been raised so far.
The new facility could result in the existing hall being demolished.
But Mr Parsonage said there had been talk of relocating the structure, with “one or two parties” interested in taking it on.
He added: “If we can’t do that, then sadly we would have to demolish it because it has seen better days.
“People who live nearby want to see the new centre built quickly because they are quite tired of seeing this old, dishevelled worse for wear building.
“However there are likely other people who have fond memories of it.”
The village hall is said to have once served as military barracks before being relocated to the village in 1919.
Since then, the building has been used as a surgery, a youth club, a polling station and even a wedding venue.
Today it is regularly used by a play group, a local karate club and is home to a weekly drop-in session.
There had been a recent attempt to repaint the building exterior, but Mr Parsonage said the work was halted due to concerns about the possible lead content of the existing paint which needed to be sanded off.