Sale in bus shelter aims to help South Creake, near Fakenham, build pavilion and restore village status

When is a village not a village? That is the question one north Norfolk community has been grappling with since it was demoted to hamlet status after selling its memorial hall three years ago.

The residents of South Creake, six miles north of Fakenham, held a wayside stall in the village bus shelter on Saturday, the latest in a series of events to raise money for a replacement community building.

Robin Malsin, chair of the parish council, said: 'There's no central point in the village for people to meet. This village has nothing except the church and the pub. We are officially classed as a hamlet despite being bigger than North Creake.'

He said the girl guides group, which has been going more than 50 years, now has to meet outside the village at its leader's house, and he feared the successful village football team could be penalised for lack of changing facilities.

The sale of toys, furniture, books and plants donated by villagers raised �365 towards the �685,000 needed to erect a new memorial pavilion next to the bowls club on the village green.

It came weeks after the National Lottery's Reaching Communities programme rejected a �500,000 application because of insufficient evidence of need – the fund's second negative response.

Len Ringwood, who was born in South Creake 77 years ago and chaired the parish council for 12 years, said: 'The hall, even though it was on the side of the road, was the centre of the village. It was a meeting place and all the functions were in there – functions like weddings were held there.

Most Read

'We are a hamlet because we have no facilities. It's something we want to get away from. It makes no difference living here, but it's if we want to do something it may have an effect.'

The original hall was donated by the Stewart and Patterson brewery in 1920 to commemorate men lost in the first world war, but was sold because it opened straight onto a busy road and lacked disabled facilities.

The parish council received planning permission for the new hall in 2009, but did not have the funds to make it a reality.

So far it has raised �120,000, and is preparing a third lottery bid, but in the meantime fundraising will continue with a soup lunch at North Creake village hall on May 5, and a buy-a-brick stall at the village's jubilee party on June 3.