Community hall boost for Felixstowe

CELEBRATIONS were held to mark the completion of a second groundbreaking project to provide a community hall along with three flats for those in need.Felixstowe Town Council has been leading the way among town councils nationwide to refurbish buildings it owns to provide community facilities and housing.

By Richard Cornwell

CELEBRATIONS were held to mark the completion of a second groundbreaking project to provide a community hall along with three flats for those in need.

Felixstowe Town Council has been leading the way among town councils nationwide to refurbish buildings it owns to provide community facilities and housing.

Following the success of its project two years ago to rebuild Broadway House, it has now carried out a similar project at Walton Community Hall.

The Victorian building, which was home to the Walton Community Association for more than 20 years, was in dire need of major work.

The town council decided the best way to carry out the expensive refurbishment to modernise the hall was to enter a partnership with Orwell Housing Association.

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The deal has led to the creation of a bright and airy hall for a variety of activities and meetings, along with three one-bed flats - a disabled-friendly one downstairs and two more upstairs - for the association's tenants.

Mike Stokell, chairman of the town members committee, which oversaw the project, said: “We are really delighted with the way it has turned out.

“It just shows what can be achieved by giving careful thought and planning to a project and working in partnership with other organisations. This development will bring real benefits to this area of Felixstowe and we look forward to continuing this partnership work with our Town Hall project.

“This is an ideal place for housing - housing for couples or single people is desperately needed.

“It is right on Walton High Street with shops and a pub close at hand, schools and a doctor's, and the countryside just a few minutes away.”

Mayor Ann Rodwell, who unveiled a plaque to officially open the building, was thrilled the refurbishment had retained the history and character of the property, which began life in 1886 as the hall for the Ancient Order of Foresters and later was a Salvation Army citadel.

The town council is looking at ways of managing the running of the community hall.

What do you think of the project? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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