Future hopes for Cromer former WI hall

Richard BatsonThe future of Cromer's former WI Hall lies with a new charity trust, after the town council stepped away from the building it rescued for the community.Richard Batson

The future of Cromer's former WI Hall lies with a new charity trust, after the town council stepped away from the building it rescued for the community.

The council took over the Garden Street venue 18 months ago when the WI found it too much of a strain.

But its operating costs of �17,000 are higher than the �11,00 annual income, so the council has decided to pull out of the lease when in runs out in the spring - because the �6,000 subsidy was also too much of a drain on their hard-pressed budget.

Town clerk Julie Chance said the future now lay in setting up a community charity trust, made up of townsfolk, councillors and organisations such as the WI, to take over the running. They wouldn't have to pay the �8,000 rent cost, and would be helped by a �2,000 grant from the council.

Talks with the WI over their possible involvement would happen on Thursday. If the trust could not get off the ground, the building would revert to the WI, which owned it.

The withdrawal from the community hall has enabled the council to peg its tax increase on townsfolk to just over 4pc, after setting a precept of �142,890. The figure was upped by about �2,000 from that recommended at the budget meeting last month, to allow for the annual New Year's Day fireworks display to give a better slice of its bucket collection to local charities.

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