Grant helps bring refurbishment project a step closer

Commemoration Hall

Commemoration Hall - Credit: Archant

Trustees of the Commemoration Hall, in Huntingdon, have welcomed a grant that will allow work on a multi-million pound refurbishment to get under way.

On Thursday, Huntingdon Town Council agreed to give hall trus-tees a one-off grant payment of £20,000.

A proportion of the money will be spent on initial drawings and plans for the High Street hall’s future design before detailed drawings will be commissioned in the new year.

“It is hugely exciting, I love the idea of taking something that has huge potential,” trustee and project manager, Scott Hutchison, said.

The decision came after authority members were presented with a grant application and a business case from trustee chairman, James Rowe.

Town councillors have placed a clause on the funding, however, requiring trustees to agree that refurbishment would only commence once all other necessary funding was secured to complete the project.

In January the town council insisted that the venue become “self sufficient” but offered hall trustees another £20,000 to fund capital projects including the renovation of its kitchen.

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The authority has now stated the new grant will be the last.

After trustees have formulated plans with the project architect, a public consultation will be held to obtain views from residents and hall users in Huntingdonshire about any changes that could take place.

“We want the hall to be a beacon for Huntingdon – the public are at the core of the build – we want it to work for the next three or four generations. We want it to be a

flexible and purposeful as possible,” Mr Hutchison added.

Within the plans it is expected that the hall will be expanded with a further two floors, to add to its existing three, which will also create five extra function rooms.

Trustees also plan to have a gallery and café as well as upgraded existing facilities including dressing rooms, lighting and toilets.

The original plan saw the hall being given a makeover worth up to £1million but, following talks with a fundraising organisation, it was decided by the trustees of the

hall that about £5million was needed to complete the refurbishment project.