Restoration work to start on Diss’ Corn Hall

The stripped back interiour of Diss Corn HallyCREDIT LUCY KAYNE

The stripped back interiour of Diss Corn HallyCREDIT LUCY KAYNE - Credit: Archant

There was a celebratory mood around Diss as contractors were handed the keys to the town's Corn Hall.

Work to restore and upgrade the 162-year-old building, which will cost up to £1.6 million, will start on Monday and will be done by Norwich-based company Pentaco Construction.

The original hall, Waveney Room and council chambers will be refurbished and there will be the addition of a two story expansion at the rear of the building to provide a box office, foyer, bar, gallery and exhibition areas.

Diss town mayor, Julian Mason, said the project was a long time coming. He said: 'It's going to be great seeing each stage of the transformation. This is probably the biggest project Diss has ever seen.

'The Corn Hall has done an excellent job to keep the events going in other venues around the town. This project is good for the whole area, not just Diss.'

The refurbishment work is part of the Diss Heritage Triangle project, which will improve parts of the town centre. The £3 million project will also include re-landscaping St Nicholas Street and Market Hill, creating gardens behind the town council offices and a Mere boardwalk. It is hoped the hall will be part opened in September but the official opening will not be until next January.

Pentaco Construction was involved in the £1.5m restoration of King's Lynn Town Hall, and James Long, pre-contract and estimating manager, said they cannot wait to get started.

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He said: 'It is fantastic to get involved in such a prestigious scheme. It is something we're looking forward to getting our teeth into.

'We're going to retain the nature of the building and the old features will be restored and saved. It's quite hard working on listed buildings and it's amazing what you find and uncover. We love this sort of work.'

Are you involved in a heritage project? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk