Mixed reaction after ruling on Church Hall in Hethersett

10:39 am November 21, 2021

Reaction to the decision to turn a historic church hall into a house in a Norfolk village has been mixed.

The South Norfolk Development Management (Planning) Committee unanimously agreed to enable the conversion of the parish hall at Henstead Road, Hethersett into a single dwelling – with parts of the existing building being demolished.

The Rector of Hethersett, the Reverend Derek McClean
– Credit: Denise Bradley

Villagers took to social media to discuss the decision, which will provide St Remigius Church with funds to create more community space in its building on B1172.

Hethersett rector Reverend Derek McClean said it would benefit the community, but the move left a well-established dance school desperate for a new home.

A local resident, John Head, said: “It costs £ 75,000 to keep the doors of the church open every year.

The Stella School of Dance teaches five evenings a week at St Remigius Church in Hethersett.

Stella School of Dance teaches at St Remigius Church Hall in Hethersett
– Credit: Stella School of Dance

“Over the next five years £ 150,000 will need to be spent on maintaining the village heritage building. The £ 75,000 each year comes from around 100 people plus the occasional inheritance.

“The parish hall is struggling to be maintained and, I suppose, should be closed if it continues to deteriorate. The money from the parish hall will be used to preserve the heritage building, which will also be in danger.”

But Stella Gretsinger, owner of Stella School of Dance, said she found it almost impossible to find another venue that could accommodate 23 hours per week rental, the amount used by the school in the church hall.

“If anyone locally knows of such venues which are available for rent from 4pm Monday through Friday, I would be extremely grateful to hear from them,” she added.

Ms Gretsinger can be contacted via [email protected]

With the debate separating residents, a call was made for everyone to come together to help resolve any issues.

“Please remember that there are real people behind these stories, with families and concerns that you cannot imagine,” said Sara Kenny.

“Please always be kind. We are a community; nothing is gained by being aggressive or by dividing. “

Conditions on approval will include limiting construction hours to avoid noise to nearby residents.

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