Village Focus: Plans for £700,000 community space in historic Feltwell church

Feltwell Village focus.''FL; Berkeley Zych, Christine Parker, Sue Garland, Terrance Shapland look at the scale modle of the new community centre.
Feltwell Village focus.''FL; Berkeley Zych, Christine Parker, Sue Garland, Terrance Shapland look at the scale modle of the new community centre.

A historic church in Feltwell could become the heart of village life under ambitious plans for a £700,000 community space.

The Aisle Project would create a new two-storey hub at St Mary’s Church with a space for a diverse mix of community groups as well as a heritage centre to house a unique collection tracing 7,000 years of Feltwell’s history.

The aisle sub-committee of the parochial church council – the group behind the move – has won the backing of the Diocese of Ely and will apply for grant funding.

The space, which will boast computer and broadband access, will also serve communities beyond Feltwell.

Member Sue Garland said: “There’s a need for a modern community facility.

“This is something we can pass on to the next generation.”

It is a measure of the pro-active gumption of the village – one of the largest in Norfolk with about 3,000 residents – ensuring there is something for everyone.

This year, new changing rooms have been built on the village playing fields after Feltwell Parish Council splashed out £75,000 from its capital monies and Norfolk Community Foundation granted £65,000.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 people flocked to the first ever Feltwell Beer Festival over the August Bank Holiday which raised almost £250 for charities The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and Macmillan Cancer Support. It was organised by Chris Samuels, parish councillor and bartender at the West End pub.

Edmund Lambert, vice- chairman of Feltwell Parish Council, who grew up in the village, said: “It’s the second biggest village in Norfolk. When I was a child there was only about 1,100 people – all local people working on the land. Then people came in from London when Thetford expanded.

“They integrated quite nicely. It’s a nice, friendly and safe village and there are lots of clubs which do different things.”