Function room to close for repairs

HADLEIGH'S biggest function room is set to close for repairs that could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.Although the complex of rooms at the town hall look fine to the guests at weddings and other functions, all is not what it seems.

HADLEIGH'S biggest function room is set to close for repairs that could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Although the complex of rooms at the town hall look fine to the guests at weddings and other functions, all is not what it seems.

The high ceiling of the Victorian grand hall needs attention after engineers discovered major structural damage after a lump of plaster fell from it.

Councillor Jan Byrne said: "A survey was carried out after a large section of plaster fell down from the ceiling and the engineers discovered there was a problem.

"It is safe at the moment and doesn't look bad, but it is the side you can't see that is a problem."

The engineers report leaves the council with two options, one estimated at £30,000 and will take a month to complete. The other is expected to cost £120,000, but will take a year to finish.

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A special council meeting is scheduled for October 2 when the options will be discussed.

Town clerk, Robert Stevens, said: "This is an awful lot of money for a town council to raise so we will be trying to get some grant aid to help us out.

"We are in discussion with the design and conservation officer of Babergh District council."

Mrs Byrne added: "The hall is vital to the community as is it is the largest we have in Hadleigh and is often used for weddings, plays, dances, shows and exhibitions.

"There is nowhere else in the town that can accommodate more than 150 people.

"Bookings will be honoured and the work will be scheduled around them."

Work on the ceiling was carried out in the late 1980s, but since then some timbers have moved which need to be tied back and re-plastered.

The building has a colourful past including World War Two squaddies and jailbirds.

Prison cells and a police station were incorporated into the lower ground floor, but were never used.

The upper floor was originally the grand hall. It is now the venue for numerous functions, but moonlighted as the Union Jack social club during the war.

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