Rifle Hall to have new trustees

COUNCILLORS have approved plans to transfer Halesworth rifle hall to a new set of trustees.

The future of the hall in London Road was thrown into doubt following a Waveney District Council review that recommended they no longer run the facility, and a working group was set up last summer to look at the future of the building.

The working group recommended transferring responsibility for the hall, and three groups formally expressed a desire to become trustees in place of the district council.

At a meeting of the district council’s charity board on Tuesday the three bidders gave presentations before members voted and backed a bid by John Marshall-Potter, of the Halesworth Cross Community Group.

Mr Marshall-Potter, one of the main organisers of the town’s Gig in the Park festival, said this week: “We hope this will now be the beginning of the way forward for the future of the hall. We want to make the rifle hall a building Halesworth can be proud of. This is something hopefully the entire community can use and embrace.”

Mr Marshall-Potter, an event organiser, said his group would be formed from a cross-section of the community. The working group said it was “most impressed” by his submission.

A report to the charity board states: “In particular, this submission, of the three, sets out the clearest and most realistic mission statement for the charitable trust.

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“The submission is the only one made by a series of personally committed individuals, with different backgrounds and skills, rather than just being endorsed by organisations.

“They have set out a clear plan for completing the required repairs within a year and then re-opening the hall as a fully functioning and inclusive community facility.

“The working group was specifically taken by the fully inclusive proposals as previously evidenced through their current involvement and highly successful approach with Gig in the Park.”

In a draft proposal for the long-term administration of the hall, Mr Marshall-Potter said the group’s vision is to make the hall available and accessible to the widest possible cross section of the local community at an affordable price.

The proposal adds: “Many local people talk fondly of the dances that used to take place, usually always fund-raising for a good cause, but now despair at the neglect the hall has suffered.

“We believe that our commitment to the project will enable us to return the rifle hall to its main function as a community hall, and run it as an integral part of Halesworth life in the 21st century.”