September 15 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Work has started on a £289,000 project to rebuild a community hall that was left a charred shell after an arson attack.
Trimley Memorial Hall was almost completely destroyed in the incident – with only the walls and the foundations to survive.
The blaze left the community shocked and heartbroken, with groups who used the hall in High Road, Trimley St Martin, left desperately seeking temporary homes.
Several theatre groups were also left homeless, and the village missed out on its Trimley Saints Players’ panto this year.
Now work is under way on the refurbishment with the £289,000 contract to rebuild the Memorial Hall awarded to builder, AC Harding Ltd.
The company will be carrying out reinstatement works that will include installing a new roof, floor, kitchen and stage – rebuilding all of the hall except for the walls and foundations, which are still intact.
Ipswich-based property and design consultants, Concertus, have been involved in the project right from the start, helping the parish council with structural assessments and building surveying services.
Experts have undertaken full specification and design and will be managing the project through to its completion in July.
Luke Rudd, senior building surveyor at Concertus, explained that it had taken longer than first thought to get the project to the current stage.
He said: “There has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to ensure that the insurers were satisfied and would meet the cost of getting the Memorial Hall reinstated.
“Due to the complete destruction of the windows, roof and floor structure, the new hall will look much fresher and more modern.
“It will also benefit from new windows and an insulated roof and floor, that will meet the current regulatory standards; improving considerably the thermal performance of the structure and therefore the future cost of heating the building.”
John Barker, chairman of Trimley St Martin Parish Council, said there were extra costs on top of the building contract – particularly equipment and items inside the building which were lost in the fire – and grants had been received towards these.
He said: “We’re delighted work has finally started and we are at last able to return the hall to its former glory.
“We would also like to take the opportunity to thank the local trusts and organisations who have offered their kind support and donations of funds, which will help replace fixtures and fittings and assist in funding the parts of the building work that insurance will not cover.”
The fire happened last June after arsonists pushed a wheelie bin against the hall and set light to it.
Police linked the incident to a fire just 24 hours earlier when a historic barn was destroyed at the back of The Three Mariners pub in neighbouring Trimley St Mary. No-one has been charged in connection with either incident.
As well as theatre groups, the hall is used by groups including by artists, embroidery club, tea dancers, a quilting society, Trimley Wives, line dancing group, plus children’s parties and wedding receptions.