A new purpose built hall for the village to replace the existing Town Hall was first
discussed by the Parish Council and then the Town Hall Committee in September 1983.
A public meeting was also held, where it was agreed to press ahead as quickly as
possible with the building of a new community hall. There was a lot of enthusiasm
in the village for this project, and this continued to the opening of a new Community
Hall in 1986 and, I believe, continues to this day through a dedicated band of volunteers!
A decision was taken to sell the existing Town Hall and use the proceeds from the
sale towards a new purpose built Village Hall on a site adjacent to the existing
British Legion Hut, on the corner of London Road and Southwold Road.
Outline planning permission for a new village hall was obtained immediately prior
to these meetings.
The total cost of the new Village Hall was estimated to be approx. £105,000 to £110,000.
The cost would be funded by the proceeds from the sale of the Town Hall (approx.
£24,000), a grant from the Waveney District Council (approx. £50,000), together with
a loan from the WDC (approx. £17,000), and finally money raised by the villagers
including the running of a weekly prize draw, started in September 1983, to be run
in the village, which would raise in excess of £50 to £40 per week.
The WDC advised that the grant funding would not be available until at least two
years hence, and therefore design work commenced with a start date of 1985 in mind.
There were many individuals and local companies who gave their time and expertise
to the project from start to completion and it hardly seems fair to single anyone
However, I think special mention should be made of the individuals and businesses
below, so in no particular order:
· The Royal British Legion and Adnams Brewery for donating the land on which the
old RBL Hut stood thus providing an access to the project, and Benacre Estates for
donating a large part of the remainder of the land on which the new Hall stands today.
· The Wrentham Parish Council for support and encouragement.
· All those who served at various times on the Village Hall Committee, and those
who still manage the running of the Hall today.
· The late Mr Geoff Sallows.
· The late Mrs Sylvia Chatten.
· Don Bowman who designed the Hall, obtained planning permission and building control
approval and supervised the project from start to finish, all in his own time and
at no cost to the project.
· Mick Burley Carpenter and Joiner.
· Boggis Electrical.
·To those in the Village who supported the project by freely giving their time,
especially all who turned out on weekends in the late winter to lay thousands of
block paviors, or to apply many gallons of paint to the internal walls, and many
· The Building Company in Kessingland who built the structure of the Hall.
· And with my apologies to anyone I have not mentioned – you know who you are.
The Hall was proudly and officially opened in 1986 by Sir John Gooch of Benacre Estates.
This project was achieved with a huge local effort by everyone in the village, and
is one of which the village should be justifiably proud!
By Dave Selwyn
We also thank Dave Selwyn for his involvement in the project.