Soham Pavilion is being brought into the 21st century with a £620,000 make-over starting next year

Soham Pavilion

Soham Pavilion - Credit: Archant

Soham Pavilion is being given a massive make-over starting next year in a project costing £620,000.

All town councillors except one voted to bring the pavilion into the 21st century with a list of works including re-wiring, a new heating system, new toilets, better disabled access and new windows.

The town council offices will be updated, given better internet access and the entrance and car park improved.

Money to fund the project is already in place and was given the go-ahead despite objections from Councillor Geoffrey Woollard who said the work should be capped at £250,000 to leave cash in the pot for other town projects.

Town Council chairman Geoff Fisher said: “It has been a plan to do these improvements for a long time.

“We had a public consultation so that everybody locally had a say.

“The hall is used for many community events like the beer festival and the pumpkin fayre and can also be hired so it is vital we bring it up to date.”

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The work is now being put out to tender and is phase one of improvement works.

Phase two will involve adding a new village hall building at the back of the pavilion and is not included in the £620,000 price tag.

Cllr Woollard said some of the money may have to be borrowed - on a ‘reduced’ scheme to re-vamp the pavilion and its surroundings.

He said: “The building has no architectural merit whatsoever.

“There are other pressing priorities - a mooted proposal for the town council itself to fund a £70,000 pelican pedestrian crossing on Pratt Street, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to upgrade the ‘heritage’ lighting on Sand Street, High Street, Churchgate Street and Pratt Street, and the long longed-for cycleway between Soham and Wicken.

“I regret the decision to pump such a large lump sum into the pavilion.

“I moved an amendment to spend no more than £250,000 to ‘smarten up’ the place but this was not agreed to. I wonder what the paying public will think.”

The pavilion scheme was first discussed in 2009 when plans were drawn up to revamp the Fountain Lane venue and were officially unveiled to residents in a project estimated to cost in the region of £1.7 million.