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Trust set up to help Corn Hall regeneration

PUBLISHED: 17:18 01 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:15 12 July 2010

The management of a landmark building in Diss is set to be transferred to a charitable trust in the New Year to help aid its £2m regeneration.

The Corn Hall secured a £70,000 grant from South Norfolk Council earlier this year to begin a major refurbishment of the 19th century building.

The management of a landmark building in Diss is set to be transferred to a charitable trust in the New Year to help aid its £2m regeneration.

The Corn Hall secured a £70,000 grant from South Norfolk Council earlier this year to begin a major refurbishment of the 19th century building.

Diss Town Council, which owns the listed venue in St Nicholas Street, has agreed to a lease to the Diss Corn Hall Trust as part of its plans to turn it into a 21st century arts, cultural and community centre.

Civic leaders approved the transfer of the management of the building to the charitable trust from January 1 at a special meeting on last night , but were unable to agree on how much the town council should contribute to long-term structural maintenance.

The independent control of the Corn Hall will enable the trustees to start work on employing an architect to complete a design brief for the venue to be renovated into a multi-purpose community hall, theatre and cinema.

Sue Reeves, Corn Hall project co-ordinator, said the formulation of a design brief would aid the charitable trust when it came to funding applications for the work to the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources.

But Graham Minshull said he was concerned that the town council was recommending giving the trust £10,000 to £15,000 a year for the structural maintenance of the Corn Hall without seeing an up-to-date business plan.

“We are dealing with taxpayers' money and we need to know when it is going to break even. It is a lot of money and I feel we need to be prudent. I think it is a great project but I think we need to be up to date with the facts and figures,” he said.

Councillors agreed to wait until the town's precept discussions before setting a maintenance budget.

Deborah Sarson, town clerk, added that the Corn Hall trust aimed to make the facility “self-sustaining” and the refurbishment would help ease the financial burden on the council.


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