Community hall row after harsh words

A WAR of words has broken out over a cherished community hall after it was described as being “in wrack and ruin”.

A WAR of words has broken out over a cherished community hall after it was described as being “in wrack and ruin”.

Managers of the century-old Welcome Hall, at Trimley St Mary, were furious after a Suffolk county councillor said was becoming dilapidated and likely to close down but its near neighbour, the Memorial Hall at Trimley St Martin, was thriving.

But those running the Welcome Hall in High Road say it is not closing down at all and is soon to undergo a major refurbishment.

Management committee chairman Mary Dixon spoke up for the hall, which is used by a wide variety of community groups every week, during a heated exchange with county councillor John Goodwin, who described it as “in wrack and ruin”, at Trimley St Mary Parish Council meeting on Monday .

Mrs Dixon said: “I was a little perturbed by what I heard because I just didn't feel it was justified.

“Apparently, he said it was likely to close down because of its problems.

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“It is not closing down at all and it has not got major problems as at all - we are just looking at some possible work which would be part of the normal maintenance of a building.

“We now have an opportunity to put in investment to make it more efficient as far as energy consumption is concerned.”

The investment could involve a £30,000 project to double-glaze all the windows or to insulate the roof - either of which would cut down on heating costs.

Mrs Dixon said: “It is not going to wrack and ruin at all. We had an electrical inspection recently and there very little that needed doing. I think Mr Goodwin has been a little bit misled.”

Mr Goodwin, who made the comments at a said he had been told by someone that the Welcome Hall was closing down because an electrical inspection had revealed major problems. He said £30,000 was also not minor work to keep the building open.

After the meeting, Mr Goodwin said he had heard through the grapevine that the kitchen and electrics at the hall might not pass inspections. He had been asked to give some of his locality budget towards work needed for disabled access toilets but was now waiting to see what the trustees and management committee wanted to do.

He said: “The Welcome Hall is a beautiful old building and we do not want to lose it. My understanding is that a lot of work is needed and it is looking a bit sad - I don't think a lot has been done to it in recent years and those things are now coming home to roost.

Mr Goodwin was also compiling a list of organisations which might be able to help with grants for the trustees.

Do you use the Welcome Hall? What do you think of its condition? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

The Welcome Hall opened in 1902, provided by the Pretyman family for the benefit of villagers in both Trimleys.