Proposed Heacham community hall 'will be worth the wait'
It's been a long wait but Heacham residents have been assured that their new community building will be worth it.
The parish council hopes work to convert the former Dairy Crest depot in Pound Lane will be complete by mid-2022.
Then residents will have a multi-user hall, public library, community hub, meeting room and parish office in one location.
It's expected that the job will go out to tender in early 2021. The contract could then be awarded in the spring and it's hoped the work will take no longer than 14 months.
Cllr Terry Clay is leading on the project for the council and has thanked everyone involved in getting to this point.
"It's been a long time in the planning - about six years," he said. "The commitment of the parish council to the project has been excellent and the commitment and patience the people of the parish have shown have been wonderful too.
"We hope to be able to reward them."
Funding for the project will come from a number of sources including the sale of Old Friends Hall, a loan from the Public Works Loan Board and savings made by the relinquishing of leases on the former Barclays building for the library and the church hall for the parish office.
Mr Clay was reluctant to reveal at this stage the cost of the project with it soon going out to tender.
The buildings on the site will largely remain - in line with the wishes of about two-thirds of respondents when parishioners were consulted on its future.
Mr Clay said: "They felt it was part of the heritage of the village and the parish council was quite happy to go along with that."
"The architechtural designers have done a wonderful job," he added.
Atelier Associates was responsible for a similar non-designated heritage asset project with Dersingham Village Hall.
Steve Sharp, director of the Snettisham firm, said the Heacham design had taken a couple of years to finalise with a refurbishment of existing buildings and an extension the agreed path.
He enjoyed the challenge, adding: "It's quite an important building for the village."
Planning permission was granted by West Norfolk Council in April 2019. A supplementary application for minor amendments has been submitted this month.