Wedding venue 'will boost jobs'

A Georgian hall in the north Suffolk countryside is set to become a venue for weddings and conferences. Ilketshall Hall, near Bungay, could be hosting up to 150 people for conferences as early as 2009.

A Georgian hall in the north Suffolk countryside is set to become a venue for weddings and conferences.

Ilketshall Hall, near Bungay, could be hosting up to 150 people for conferences as early as 2009. Newly-weds will be able to have their pictures taken on the sweeping drive in front of the hall, which was built to resemble a 16th-century building.

The new coach house building in the grounds of the hall will be suitable for weddings, exhibitions and local events. An Edwardian walled garden will also be restored.

Dominic Parker, whose family have lived in Ilketshall Hall for 40 years, said that it will be a unique venue for weddings. “The setting of the hall itself is beautiful,” he said. “It has a lovely long drive and a very relaxed atmosphere. It will be unlike anything else in the area.”

The venture will also create work for local florists, gardeners and catering businesses.

Mr Parker added: “Many of the people around will benefit from the opportunities that will arise within the wedding facility. Lots of part-time jobs will be created with flexible hours which will suit local workers.”

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The building will incorporate kitchens for catering and space for preparation and event administration areas.

It will be located on the site of existing poultry sheds which no longer meet welfare and hygiene requirements and are to be demolished. New sheds will be built on the other side of the site. The application includes a cottage for an on-site poultry manager.

The plans had been criticised because they will bring extra traffic on to the country roads. The entrance to Ilketshall Hall off the A144 is to be widened to improve access and to improve traffic visibility.

Waveney District Council approved the plans on Wednesday night. Head of planning Tom Woolley said: “The sustainability of the location for a function centre is slightly in doubt, although it is difficult to see how such a development with this ambience could be created in one of the nearby towns.” Mr Woolley described the plans as a “great improvement on the unsightly sheds” which are now on the site.

David Ritchie, councillor for the area, said: “I welcome this scheme and I think all aspects of the plan are positive improvements.”

Mr Parker said it was a long term project to improve their business and land, and that its cost was still unknown.