Wymondham Central Hall nears grand re-opening

The scaffolding will soon be coming down outside a popular south Norfolk venue as a two-and-a-half-year project to refurbish the ailing building nears completion.

The scaffolding will soon be coming down outside a popular south Norfolk venue as a two-and-a-half-year project to refurbish the ailing building nears completion.

Volunteers behind major renovation works at Central Hall, in Wymondham, expect to hold a grand re-opening at the facility in early December - and bookings for the venue are already coming in thick and fast.

Last week, the Central Hall Trust was awarded a �14,152 grant from South Norfolk Council to complete one of the final stages of project to fit of a new kitchen and bar area.

The whole refurbishment has cost about �770,000, which has also included an extensive redecoration, a new modern reception area, roof repairs and the boosting of the building's green credentials with the installation of new lighting, heating and insulation systems, including a ground source heat pump and the purchase of solar panels.


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It is hoped the initiatives will reduce the building's utility bills and help keep hire charges down.

The hall, in Back Lane, has been closed since October last year to allow the works to take place. Before the builders jumped into action, the facility had been left largely untouched since it was built more then 40 years ago and was becoming unsafe for public use. The opening of the town's modern new library next door in 2008 only highlighted the steadily dilapidated state of the building.

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Volunteers decided it was time for a revamp and began discussions with local architects Lucas Hickman Smith. Despite the onset of the recession, they managed to secure a loan from the Clydesdale Bank for more than �500,000 which will be repaid from income collected from the hall's car park.

Money was also given by the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, the Community Sustainable Energy Programme, the Geoffrey Watling Charity, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Norfolk Rural Community Council and Wymondham Town Council.

Brian Randall, chairman of the management committee, said: 'It got to the stage where we were patching and making do. We were just throwing good money after bad. We thought we ought to go for a full refurbishment. We think it's what the people of Wymondham need.'

On its imminent re-opening, he added: 'I shall be very nervous. I hope the people of Wymondham will like what we have done. They are the final arbiter.

'I hope they don't say 'We don't like this - we liked it the way it was'. I'm sure they will see how hard we have worked hard to keep the features that make it the hall what it is.

'From the very beginning we said we'd do as good a job as we could possibly afford because we want it to last for another 40 years.'

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