Council agrees to consider options in controversial hall-to-home plan

Arminghall Village Hall

Arminghall Village Hall - Credit: Cavell Turner

Those campaigning for a village hall to be saved from demolition and replaced with a house have been promised a meeting to discuss the way forward. 

Arminghall Village Hall has been closed for the past two years with Caistor St Edmund and Bixley Parish Council submitting plans to replace the quaint building with a two-bedroom chalet bungalow. 

The future of the hall was discussed at a parish council meeting on Wednesday evening where it was agreed the parish council would hold a meeting with villagers to discuss the options for the hall. 

One 75-year-old woman who attended, and did not wish to be named, said: "The villagers do not want to lose the hall and asked if the council could consider alternatives and they said yes.

"They said they would consider alternatives which we are pleased with.

"One option could be to demolish the building and start again - but it would have to pay for itself if it is going to be viable to rebuild or renovate it."

Villagers are campaigning to save Arminghall Village Hall from closure

Villagers are campaigning to save Arminghall Village Hall from closure which has been used for jumble sales among other events in previous years (inset) - Credit: Google Maps/Vera Leech

It was found in 2019 that the hall never had a premises licence which is a requirement for the hall to be rented for community events. 

A minimum of a toilet and kitchen would also have to be installed as a minimum to obtain this licence. 

Parish councillor Anne Barnes said: "The parish council were advised that the hall was hardly ever used and the lack of on site facilities contributed to this.

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"We have been advised that it is too costly and not economical to repair the hall due to its current state.

"The parish council is therefore exploring all options for the site to ensure that some sort of community facility is provided for the future." 

She said the option of alternative sites has been explored in the area and also suggested that the campaign group could purchase the hall at an agreed market value.

Les Dawson showing pictures of past events held in the village hall

Les Dawson, who lives opposite the village hall, showing pictures of past events at the hall over the years - Credit: Cavell Turner

And representatives from Glaven Hill, which has drawn up initial plans for new homes in Caistor Lane, attended the meeting on Wednesday regarding their long-term plans for the village.

The company has offered a site free of charge for a new village hall.

Villagers have called for an independent survey of the building.