Kentford & Kennett Village Hall
Cross-border relations is something that many would advocate, and nowhere is there a clearer example than in the villages of Kentford and Kennett where residents of both communities have combined to complete an ambitious project to install a new Village Hall amenity adjacent to the existing Pavilion.
Although the locations are only a stone’s throw away from one-another, technically they sit within the separate counties of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire respectively, but that hasn’t caused any disruption.
Eight-months since the project physically commenced and the Village Hall in all its splendour was revealed to the public.
This sustainable development clearly reflects the close relations of the two villages, maintaining much of the rich heritage that exists. The premises in size is suitable for approximately 100 people at any one time, with new meeting rooms, kitchen, bar and garden facilities for residents to congregate and socialise at their leisure.
It is anticipated that the site will be utilised by up to 130 visitors per week, including dancing groups, karate and table tennis clubs, Newmarket band, village schools, as well as other organised public occasions.
The project in its entirety is valued at approximately £383,645 and owes largely to four main contributors. The two Parish Councils, a ‘Section 106’, a ECD’ Facilities Improvement Grant as well as £35,000 offered by local construction business Mick George Ltd, who have a site just north of the village.
The concept of a new Village Hall is something that has been a-long-time coming. Initial discussions back in 2006 were deferred, however, the topic reared its head once again in 2013. This time with more success, as ‘Section 106’ funding was offered from the Contractor associated with the development on Farrier’s Grange.
From here; backed by the respective district councils of East Cambridge (ECDC) and Forest Health (FHDC), the Kentford and Kennett Village Hall and Maclaren Fields Association was established.
During the prevailing Feb 2014 – Mar 2017 period, a series of consultations, feasibility studies, tender processes, planning permissions, and Architect and Contractor selections were made, ready for the project to finally commence in April 2017.
R.C Swanson (MBE), Village Hall Chairman Said: ‘’We have managed to form a Hall’ which all involved are enormously pleased with, and exactly as we imagined at the planning stage. We feel very privileged to have received such a generous grant considering the request fell outside the normal criteria boundaries, and will feel eternally indebted to the Mick George Community Fund.’’
Jon Stump, Finance Director at Mick George Ltd commented: ‘’This has been a considerable project that all connected with, should be very proud of. For what has been a volunteer-led development, the attention to detail has been tremendous and that is evidenced in the outcome.‘’
Stump continued: ‘‘It is rare that as a business we engage in funding with multiple parties, but in this instance we recognised the need for our assistance. We’re extremely pleased to have been involved and hope the local residents can enjoy the facilities for years to come.’’