New village hall for Debden looks to the future

13:10 08 January 2014

An artist

An artist's impression of the proposed front view of the new-look Debden Village Hall.

Archant

The work of a group of volunteers has come a step closer to fruition with the submission of plans for a new village hall in Debden.

The new building will be 60 per cent larger than the existing village hall and will have a large main hall and separate meeting room enabling a wider range of activities to take place.

It will replace the existing hall, which was built in 1922 and is beyond economical repair. The existing hall with its village shop – which is run by volunteers and was the first community shop in Essex when it opened in 1982 – and Post Office will continue to operate during construction.

After several previous attempts to build a new hall, a 19-strong group of volunteers – the New Village Hall Group – was formed last year and created a partnership with the Village Hall Trustees and Debden Parish Council. Several meetings were held to outline the plans, which received overwhelming support.

The plans, designed by Alun Design Consultancy of Wendens Ambo, have now been submitted to Uttlesford District Council.

Stewart Luck, chairman of the group, said the project had become a real community effort.

He added: “We’re fortunate that in Debden we have people with the right skills, imagination and determination to drive this project which will create a new village hall to serve, not only the needs of the present community, but those of future generations.”

The new hall will back on to Debden’s recreation ground and offer greatly improved facilities for meetings and the activities of Debden’s many community groups including Debden Pre-School, dance, ballet and fitness classes. The shop and Post Office will continue to be a prominent feature in the new building.

The existing hall was built on land bequeathed to the village by Lady Strathcona as a memorial to her son who was killed in action in Flanders in 1915. The village war memorial plaque commemorating servicemen who died in both World Wars will be transferred from the existing building to the new hall.

The costs of the first phase of the project including design and planning have already been met with grants from the Debden-based Searle Trust, the Tom Amos charity and Uttlesford’s Community Project Grant Scheme.

Further fund-raising, including applications for grants to public and private organisations, is underway to boost Debden’s new village hall fund that will cover the balance of the cost, expected to be about £350,000.

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