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Public meeting called ahead of Terrington St Clement Village Hall ‘closure’ later this month

A public meeting will be held next week as residents, councillors and committee members look to get to grips with the “closure” of their village hall.

Terrington St Clement Village Hall is set to officially pass into the ownership of the West Norfolk Academies Trust (WNAT), which runs St Clement’s High School, after December 31.

The trust previously moved to assure numerous concerned parties that the facility will remain a community asset despite taking full control of the lease, meaning there will be limitations as to what activities can be held during school hours because of “safeguarding” issues.

Terrington St Clement Village Hall, adjoined to St Clement's High School
Terrington St Clement Village Hall, adjoined to St Clement's High School

The lease was originally signed by the village’s parish council and Norfolk County Council in 1986, and lasted for a period of 28 years before expiring in 2015. During this time the land was transferred to the school trust.

The agreement was never renewed between WNAT and the parish council, which subsequently surrendered the lease by deed in 2021. Following this, WNAT says it approached the Village Hall Committee with a ‘licence to occupy’ option – but this was turned down.

West Norfolk borough councillor Paul Kunes, who represents the Terrington Ward and chairs the committee, has been vocal in his criticism of these dealings.

He will be hosting a public meeting next Thursday (December 14) at the hall to discuss what he and fellow members’ next plans are. It will start at 7.30pm.

Cllr Kunes says this will be to “explain to the people of Terrington what is happening, who is to blame, and what is happening to the hall”.

In materials published ahead of this meeting, the transfer of of ownership to WNAT has been described as a “closure”.

Cllr Kunes said: “At the end of the day, we have lost it – we can’t do anything about it, but it is a crying shame.”

Members of the committee feel that WNAT taking control of the lease is unfair because they have spent roughly £50,000 renovating the hall in recent years.

However, a spokesperson for the trust previously told the Lynn News that “the hall will remain as a resource for the whole community, including the students and parents of St Clement's High School”.

When approached for comment ahead of the December 31 ‘closure’, we were told that nothing has changed since this assurance was issued.

In October, Cllr Kunes said one woman who was due to hold her wedding in the hall next summer was left “in floods of tears” after having it cancelled.

However, WNAT has now confirmed that it has reached out to this woman and confirmed that her big day will still go ahead as planned.

Terrington St Clement Parish Council, after investigating, has hinted that legal action could be taken by one or more parties in some form regarding the way the lease has been handled.

Cllr David Hillier, chair of the council, said he is “disappointed” that the hall will no longer be run by the committee come the end of the year.

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