'The prefab is quite outdated' - Meet the village hall committee without a proper village hall

(Left) Wendy Atkins, Treasurer, and (right) Nick Everett, Chair of Tunstead village hall and recreat

(Left) Wendy Atkins, Treasurer, and (right) Nick Everett, Chair of Tunstead village hall and recreation ground comittee have recieved planning permission to build a permanent village hall - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

After 40 years of dashed hopes, is a village in north Norfolk finally about to get its own village hall?

Tunstead is a sprawling settlement of about 420 homes and more than 700 residents, just over two miles north of Wroxham.

It has a primary school and a recreation ground, a parish council and a village hall committee - but it doesn't have a proper village hall.

Instead, events are held in a dilapidated prefab which used to be part of a North Sea gas rig and now sits at the edge of the recreation ground.

The old oil rig prefab which is serving as Tunstead's current village hall

The old oil rig prefab which is serving as Tunstead's current village hall - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

But that could be about to change, as the village hall committee’s application to build an actual village hall has been approved by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC).

Nick Everett, 55, chairman of the village hall committee, said: "The prefab is quite old, it's not fit for purpose anymore. It has no running hot water and no inside lavatory.

"A village hall would be able to offer much better facilities for community events."

The new facility will have a public room with space for up to 50 people, and a kitchen. It will host existing events like bingo, coffee mornings, the cinema club and family parties.

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The attic will be divided into a small meeting rtoom and office for the parish clerk and village records. 

"It will give us a place where people can come together. It will be something the youth can use and we'd like to provide a better facility for elderly people who come to the bingo," Mr Everett said.

"It opens up opportunities for a lot of events people like to go to but we currently can't hold in the village," he added.

Nick Everett, Chair of the Tunstead village hall and recreation ground comittee shows the plans for

Nick Everett, Chair of the Tunstead village hall and recreation ground comittee shows the plans for the new village hall, which the village has waited 40 years for - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

The cost of building the facility will be approximately £200,000.

Mr Everett said: "We've made big in-roads in funding over the last three or four years, but we need more people on board with experience in getting applications out for funding."

The committee holds its AGM on May 10 at 7.30pm. It currently has five members.

Mr Everett said: "We would love to see some new members and volunteers to join us on the final stages of our journey.

"The more people we have on board, the less work there should be for everyone involved."

On June 5, the village is holding a Queen's Jubilee celebration fete with a dog-show, live music and stalls.

(Left) Wendy Atkins, Treasurer, and (right) Nick Everett, Chair of Tunstead village hall and recreat

(Left) Wendy Atkins, Treasurer, and (right) Nick Everett, Chair of Tunstead village hall and recreation ground comittee are hopeful that they can retire the tired prefab which currently serves as a village hall - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Timeline

1951 - A village hall is built using demob money but 20 years later...

1971 - It's demolished and the land is sold for housing.

1986 - Norfolk County Council sells the site now called the Recreation Ground to Tunstead Parish Council.

1989 - Planning permission is granted for a village hall but it is never built.

2000 - The prefab is installed.

2002 - Planning permission is again approved for a village hall but...

2004 - The plans are put on hold due to security concerns on keeping the sports changing rooms in a prefab-type unit.

2009 - A survey of the village, completed by 70pc of households, sees just under three-quarters of the population ask for a purpose-built village hall.

2011 and 2012 - Applications for funding to the National Lottery are turned down.

2018 - Outline plans for a purpose-built village hall drawn up.

2020 - Planning application submitted.

2022 - NNDC approves the plans.