£2m refurbishment plan for Memorial Hall

Town bosses in Dereham have launched a £500,000 bid to help fund a £2m refurbishment of the town's Memorial Hall. Dereham Town Council plans for the popular Norwich Street venue are revealed in a cash bid to Breckland Council.

Town bosses in Dereham have launched a £500,000 bid to help fund a £2m refurbishment of the town's Memorial Hall.

Dereham Town Council plans for the popular Norwich Street venue are revealed in a cash bid to Breckland Council. Proposals include improved changing facilities and stage, an additional meeting room, retractable seating and relocation of the bar.

It would also mean restoring the front of the 1810 building to its original appearance as a factory for a carriage maker.

The made-over venue would be strongly promoted for live performances and to community groups and commercial lettings, like weddings and conferences.


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The town council hopes to spend £1.7m to £2.5m on the project, according to a report being sent to Breckland, although details of the scheme would be altered according to how much cash is raised.

The reports says that if Breckland was able to contribute £500,000 and the town council raised £, the project would be “realistically attainable”.

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Fundraising could include developing a part of Fleece Meadow into 14 flats, selling town council-owned properties in Norwich Street, a loan and potential bids to other funding bodies like Biffawards or the Heritage Lottery.

Earlier this year the council admitted that it was ditching previous plans for the listed building to be turned into a multi-million pound performance arts venue, which it said were “over ambitious”.

“The town council is now taking a cautious and pragmatic approach, which will firstly identify the level of funding available and then draw up a scheme to match the available funding,” the new bid states.

“The (current) project will be to improve the functionality, increase the income from lettings, improve the quality of the experience of being in the hall and develop the hall as a live performance venue to serve the north of the district.”

The bid says the hall is well used by town organisations, as well as others from the surrounding area, but that there was an unsatisfied need for an additional 60 live performances in the north of the Breckland district.

It draws users from a large geographical area and to find a similar facility people would have to go to Norwich, King's Lynn, Thetford or Sheringham, said the report.

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