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Village green takes shape

PUBLISHED: 13:40 02 August 2008 | UPDATED: 14:39 07 July 2010

MATTISHALL'S new village green should be ready for use by mid-October - a month after an important meeting is held to discuss the way forward for the village's community centre scheme.

MATTISHALL'S new village green should be ready for use by mid-October - a month after an important meeting is held to discuss the way forward for the village's community centre scheme.

The Barlow Charity team behind the Mattishall Community Project has fixed Saturday, October 18 for the official opening of the green, now taking shape in the field of the village's old infant school.

The aim is to hold a fete on the day at which village organisations will be invited to hold stalls and share their proceeds 50:50 with the project.

The latest work party of village volunteers involved in preparing the green toiled in sweltering temperatures at the weekend to clear away thistles and weeds.

Trustees' spokesman Fred Elson thanked the six or so people who took part, as well as previous teams. He said the biggest volunteer group

of 19 had braved pouring rain to do their bit.

Another grass cut was planned this week, and the project team hopes to finish levelling and rolling work soon.

Mr Elson also thanked villagers for their community spirit in giving plants to brighten up the green.

“We have had hundreds, and on Sunday afternoon we had more pots of plants dropped off,” he said. “We are very grateful.”

Landscaping work pledged by Hayes Affordable Homes, the firm that built houses as part of the community project, is thought to be imminent, and villagers will be asked in due course to help draw up a wish-list of furniture and play equipment for the green.

As reported previously in the Times, the £400,000 scheme to convert and transform the disused school building hit a major stumbling block when two major applications for grants - including National Lottery cash - were turned down.

So the Barlow trustees want villagers to go to the public meeting at Mattishall Memorial Hall on Wednesday, September 17, (7.30pm) to help decide the future of that part of the project.

Mr Elson said the options and costs would be spelled out to the meeting, as well as details of a proposed redeemable loan scheme to which villagers would be invited to contribute. A successful response would not only boost the project's coffers but would prove to grant-awarding bodies that the village was showing commitment to having a community centre, he said.

A questionnaire will also be circulated to every household to gauge support for the conversion plan, although Mr Elson stressed that villagers would have to be patient and accept it as a long-term scheme because of the costs involved.

That would mean the school building remaining boarded up for some time.

A bring-and-buy book fair will be held at Mattishall Memorial Hall on Saturday and Sunday, October 4 and 5, to help raise money for the community project.

For updates about the project visit www.mattishallcommunityproject.

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