March start hope for Memorial Hall work
WORK on a major revamp of Dereham's Memorial Hall could begin in March if a newly unveiled overhaul is given the go-ahead by planners. Drawings showing what Dereham Town Council want to do with the Norwich Street hall went on public display from Monday and will be on show for people to comment on until next Monday.
WORK on a major revamp of Dereham's Memorial Hall could begin in March if a newly unveiled overhaul is given the go-ahead by planners.
Drawings showing what Dereham Town Council want to do with the Norwich Street hall went on public display from Monday and will be on show for people to comment on until next Monday.
A sneak preview of the scheme was shown at the Memorial Hall after a production of Othello last week and it has already received a positive response.
The new scheme would see a flat at the front of the building smashed through to create a double height feature foyer.
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A new bar area under a glass roof would be created down the length of the currently open alleyway to the left of the hall. And new toilets would be created in an extension to the rear of the building and production rooms where the bar is now.
Martyn Rolfe, chairman of Dereham Amateur Dramatics Society, one of the main users of the hall, said: 'We are delighted and excited at the prospect of performing in the refurbished hall.
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'We have been involved with the developments, as they include our property, almost from the start, and are very pleased with the final plan that has been arrived at.
'We look forward to the project getting under way as soon as possible. It will be a fantastic facility for the people of Dereham to use and enjoy.'
Comments made after Othello included: 'The new tiered seating looks fantastic and will be more comfortable', 'not sure about the windows on the rear wall', 'the new meeting room will be really useful', 'extra women's toilets - good idea', 'hope the hiring charges won't go up when it opens', and 'fantastic to see it finally happening'.
A public meeting to discuss the plans will be held at the Memorial Hall on Friday next week from 6.30-8.30pm where comments can be made and questions asked.
After people have had a chance to comment on the proposals, a planning application is due to be submitted to Breckland Council in early September.
Tony Needham, town clerk, said 'We have been working closely with some key users of the hall and other groups over the last few months and we feel we now have a scheme which is affordable, meets the needs of current and future users as well as being something the town could be proud of.'
It is hoped it will be agreed by the planning department there by November and then the contract to carry out the work will be put out to tender.
The council is hoping to get funding from Biffa Award and the Lottery, and is looking at taking out a loan.
It is also looking at selling a property it owns on Norwich Street and land on Fleece Meadow.
If anybody would like to view the plans but is unable to get to the public consultations they should contact the town council on 01362 693821 and arrangements can be made to see the plans.