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£1.5m loan planned to fund cemetery and hall refurb

PUBLISHED: 10:13 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:30 07 July 2010

Town bosses are to apply for a £1.5million loan to fund a £2.22million refurbishment of Dereham's Memorial Hall and create a new cemetery.

The loan would still leave Dereham Town Council, which is behind the scheme, with a £220,000 shortfall for the hall project and it is looking in to other funding options.

Town bosses are to apply for a £1.5million loan to fund a £2.22million refurbishment of Dereham's Memorial Hall and create a new cemetery.

The loan would still leave Dereham Town Council, which is behind the scheme, with a £220,000 shortfall for the hall project and it is looking in to other funding options.

They agreed to apply for a £1.5million loan, taken out over three years, and to increase the council tax precept for the town by £3.55 per year for a band D property to help pay it off (1p per day per band D property) over a period of 20 years or fewer if possible.

It was agreed at the town council's full meeting on Tuesday.

The Memorial Hall project is currently estimated at costing £2.22million and should a loan be agreed it would still leave a funding shortfall of £220,000 said town clerk Tony Needham.

Funding applications were also being launched to Biffawards and Heritage Lottery Fund.

It was also agreed to investigate using the rear of number 62 Quebec Street for the service area for the proposed bar in the alleyway between the two buildings.

This would be covered with glass and turned into an internal building which is being looked at to be used as a gallery.

And cuts in the scheme to save cash were also agreed - this included altering a roof plan, saving £5,000, recycling kitchen fittings, saving £10,000, reusing paving at the rear of the building, saving £5,000 and removing proposed turrets from the roof.

A proposal to sell off property the town council owns in Norwich Street, numbers 58 and 62, was put on hold as it was thought they could be useful if it was later decided to expand the Memorial Hall facilities, according to the minutes.

The suggestions came from the town council's finance committee. The refurbishment plan would see a massive overhaul of the hall including a double height foyer, new meeting room, changing rooms and toilets in an extension to the rear of the building.

Plans to create a new cemetery in Dereham near Aldiss Park, the town's football ground, are still being worked on.

The town council is in negotiations with the land owner over the purchase of the site, minutes of the finance committee last week said.

It was also agreed to set aside £200 to pay a young person involved with the charity Mencap to do work in the town, including bulb planting, under supervision.

It was agreed to increase cemetery fees from April 2010. Burials will increase from £220 to £230. For those under 12 it will increase from £55 to £60. For those under 12 months it will rise from £44 to £50.

Exclusive rights of burial costs will double from £100 to £200, as will those for ashes - from £35 to £70. Non parishioner rates are double the above plus 10pc.

*Meanwhile, at Breckland Council's full council meeting, Dereham member Robin Goreham said the Memorial Hall scheme would be a “flagship scheme for Dereham and the county.”

He said he was “delighted” that there were positive negotiations going on between Breckland and Dereham town councils over support for the project.

“It is a really fantastic project. The architect has come up with some amazing plans.

“For a council of its size, for Dereham Town Council to be able to even contemplate raising £2.2m for a project of this magnitude is breathtaking.”

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