Finchingfield Guildhall restoration work to get underway after project secures �400k Heritage Lottery Funding

RESTORATION work to an important grade-I listed building in Finchingfield can finally begin after the project received a �400,000 grant.

The penultimate phase to re-establish the Guildhall at the heart of the community will start in September after funding from the Heritage Lottery was secured. The initial work will see the roof removed and restored.

The project is being steered the by Finchingfield Guildhall Trust and member Jeremy Toynbee, who has been on board since the beginning, is pleased that the restoration work can finally move forward.

“It was frustrating when we knew we were getting the money but it was not settled in relation to the other grant from the Heritage Lottery. Because of the uncertainty we could not bring in the architects and consultants,” he said.

“But it is all good now and ready to go. We are very excited.”

The trust received �983,400 from the eastern region of the heritage lottery last year but needed the extra �400,000 so that all the money could be released.

Mr Toynbee admitted his hesitancy in applying for grants at a national level as he did not want to compete with larger projects, but he was urged to do so following persuasion from the eastern board of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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“We applied to the Heritage fund at a local level because we were asking for less than �1 million,” he explained. “After securing the �983,400 grant, the board at the regional board told us to apply at a national level.

“Applying at that level meant competing against really big projects so it was really good news when they contacted us to tell us we had been awarded the �400,000.”

And so the project moves onward. In May it enters the final fundraising stage. A Finchingfield Community Campaign will form which, supported by Sir Roger Singleton - who became a patron earlier this year - will look to raise cash for the interior refurbishments of the Guildhall.

When eventually complete the facility will provide a community focal point that will provide a hall space, library and a museum.