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Relief as school's hall win backing

PUBLISHED: 15:39 07 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:19 06 July 2010

A PRIMARY school has won the right to extend into its village hall, after a charity regulator finally backed the move.

The trustees of Corton Village Hall have been trying for some time to get the hall refurbished so that it can be used by Corton Primary during school hours and offer improved community facilities at other times.

A PRIMARY school has won the right to extend into its village hall, after a charity regulator finally backed the move.

The trustees of Corton Village Hall have been trying for some time to get the hall refurbished so that it can be used by Corton Primary during school hours and offer improved community facilities at other times.

It had been feared that the Charity Commission might not allow the change of use because of a bequest left by its former owner Alan Colman, of the Colman's Mustard family, back in 1934, but now the commission has announced that it is moving ahead with plans to let the building be used by the school.

A statutory notice now has to be displayed on the site for six weeks to allow for local people to comment but if wins approval, the lease agreement with Suffolk County Council will allow for the hall to be refurbished so that it can provide extra facilities outside of school hours for the village.

It will also provide dining and hall space for pupils. The extra school space is needed because the school will house extra pupils when middle schools in Lowestoft are scrapped in September 2011.

David Butcher, chairman of Corton Parish Council, said: “This is good news for the whole of Corton. As trustees, we had long believed that a lease agreement was the best way to secure the future of the building for the community.

“Although there is a lot of paper work still to be done, we know we're able to lease the hall to the county council for conversion and that is really good news.”

He added: “There may also be added benefits because the money from the lease can be used to promote other community projects, so it could pave the way for other things here as well.”

A Charity Commission spokesman said: “The Charity Commission has informed the trustees of Corton Village Hall that we are prepared to draft a scheme, a legal document to authorise the disposal of the hall.

“This will be subject to public notice being given in the area. We will consider any representations made to us for or against the proposals.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said that once any local representations have been made and considered by the Charity Commission, a lease on the village hall would, if approved, meet the council's deadline to expand the primary school by September 2011.

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