The battle to save a much-loved village hall on the outskirts of Norwich has been won after controversial plans to demolish the site were unanimously refused.

Proposals submitted by Caistor St Edmund and Bixley Parish Council would have seen the now-retired village hall in Arminghall torn down and replaced with a two-bedroom 'chalet' bungalow.

But on Wednesday, members of the South Norfolk planning committee unanimously voted to save the "community asset". 

Norwich Evening News: The village hall has been described as being a part of Norfolk's rural heritageThe village hall has been described as being a part of Norfolk's rural heritage (Image: Sonya Duncan)

"The proposal has clearly demonstrated that there are significant harms that are not outweighed by the benefits," officers said prior to the vote.

"[The bungalow] is also not considered a good design and would result in the loss of non-designated heritage asset. 

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"It would create a cramped form of development that would have an unacceptable level of amenity for future occupiers, and it fails to demonstrate nutrient neutrality in line with Habitat Regulations Requirements."

The outcome will be celebrated by locals who campaigned to save the small but quirky site.

Norwich Evening News: The plans were unanimously refused by officersThe plans were unanimously refused by officers (Image: South Norfolk Council)

In the months leading up the decision, a petition to thwart the plans amassed more than 20 pages of signatures and a group known as Save Arminghall Village Hall was also established.

Sandra Brown, who has lived in the village for more than 20 years, told this newspaper in the run-up to the meeting: "Not only is it a community asset, but it is also a crucial part of Norfolk's rural heritage.

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"The hope is that if this application is rejected, then the community can come together and unite to bring the building back into use."

South Norfolk councillor for the area John Overton caused a great deal of controversy when he argued the site was not financially viable and a new home would be a “vast improvement” over an “old redundant tin hut”. 

Norwich Evening News: District councillor John Overton described the village hall as a redundant tin hutDistrict councillor John Overton described the village hall as a redundant tin hut (Image: John Overton)

However, Mr Overton - who reiterated his "tin hut" remark at Wednesday's meeting - argued the application should have been withdrawn due to plans being in place for a wider consultation on a new community facility in the future.

"It is not, as some might say, a redundant tin hut," argued Ms Brown.

"Nobody is pretending a lot of work doesn't need to be done to bring it back into use.

"It needs a complete renovation.

"But the hall belongs to the community and has the power to bring our village together."