Corton village hall deal is boost for school

A FORMAL agreement has been signed to allow a village hall to be used as extra school space.

Next year, there will be more children at Corton Primary School when local middle schools are closed. To make extra room, the school will use the nearby village hall and now the formal 99-year lease agreement between Corton Parish Council and Suffolk County Council has been signed.

Work has started to refurbish the main school building and the hall. Out of school hours the hall will retain its community use.

It is hoped conversion and refurbishment work will be completed by March next year so children can use it in the new school year.

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, said: 'Contracts have been signed and work has begun on developing Corton Village Hall into a facility which can be used by the primary school and the wider community.

'This development represents a major improvement in the facilities available for the school and retains a community facility which otherwise might have been lost. This has all been made possible due to the hard work of the school's leadership team and county council officers. It is planned that the new facility and work on the school will be complete and ready for use from June 2011.'

The hall was once owned by Alan Colman, of the Colman's Mustard family, who left a bequest in 1934 that it should be used for activities including a whist drive. It will now be leased to the county council for �30,000 but the money can only be used to benefit the community.

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The trustees of the hall had to apply to the Charity Commission for a change of use. After initially rejecting the proposal, the regulator backed the project in the spring.