The story of our new Monks Eleigh Village Hall
The old Monks Eleigh Village Hall, known as the Coronation Hall, was erected by volunteers in 1954 and named after the Coronation of the Queen. It is a registered Charity run by a number of Trustees. The site was purchased at a peppercorn rate from Cosford Rural District Council, which became part of Babergh District Council in the regional reorganisation.
The ‘new’ Monks Eleigh Village Hall was formally opened on 16th December 2018 after an 11 month build programme.
Monks Eleigh New Village Hall
The story of the project is much, much more than just the 11 month build programme. It all started in 1995 when the ‘old’ village hall, which had served the village well for over 40 years, was diagnosed with ‘concrete cancer’ in the main structural beams. A 12 month closure, and £20,000 repairs, saw the life of the building extended for a further 20 years. It then became apparent that the continuation of repairs was not viable and an alternative needed to be found.
After much deliberation and considerable fund raising, the old hall site was sold for residential development and planning permission was obtained for a modern Village Hall some 25% large than the one it replaces.
Queen Elizabeth II - 1953
With the co-operation and support of the Parish Council the new building is located in a corner of the village playing field off Church Hill, leased to the Hall Trust on a 999 year lease at a peppercorn rent. The Main Hall can accommodate 300 people standing or 150 people sitting theatre style. There are six round tables with a capacity of up to 10 people each and 14 rectangular tables capable of sitting eight people each. The building is constructed in a timber frame, which reduced the construction time, and is energy efficient, it has an ‘A’ rated EPC. The Main Hall is serviced by both a kitchen and separate bar. Underfloor heating, with each room controlled by a separate thermostat, is supplied via an Air Source Heat Pump. The Main Hall and the Meeting Room are maintained at a constant 20oC. The 64 PV panels on the roof result in the building being entirely energy self-sufficient. These panels were originally installed on the, now closed, Monks Eleigh School and were given to the Trust by Suffolk County Council as part of its support for the project.
The ceiling of the main hall is provided with special tiles to create an ideal acoustic environment for all occasions. The slightly sprung engineered oak timber flooring provides a good surface for all events from Aerobics to Zumba classes. A ‘state of the art’ Laser projector giving the highest definition, together with suitable sound equipment and radio microphones, enables a variety of entertainment events to be held, such as “Flicks in the Sticks”.
The end result has been admired by all those who have attended events and has created a space for use by the village and surrounding areas for which the Monks Eleigh can be suitably proud.
Richard Bines February 2020
The images above and left show the original playing fields and gradual stages of construction. If you look closely at the top-left picture to the left of the goalposts you will see the small digger that was used by Richard Bines to cut the first piece of turf for the foundations.
The images below show the finished hall and internal pictures of the main hall and meeting room