Beck Row’s new village hall has gone down the pub.
After 18 months of looking for a new home, the hall was officially opened on Saturday as the Rose and Crown Parish Hub in a former pub.
The last village hall was in Beck Row School’s grounds but that was needed for classrooms for the growing number of pupils.
So in December 2015, Suffolk County Council applied for planning permission to build a new visitor-cum-community-centre on the St John’s Street side of Beck Row’s Aspal Close local nature reserve.
The county offered to make up for the loss of 289sq m of habitat by donating its 15,500sq m Homestead site next to the reserve, but the plan ran into ecological problems and opposition.
Former parish council chairman Gary Peachey said: “That was running into trouble and it was going to take a long while to get anything sorted.”
But then Tony and Wanda Betts, from Brandon, approached the parish about turning the Rose and Crown, which had closed about five years ago, into flats.
Land around the pub had already been used for redevelopment.
Gary said: “It struck me it would be an ideal place for a hall. They agreed to sell the pub to us.
“They own a building company, so they completed the work for us.
“We just managed to get it finished under my chairmanship.”
The ex-pub no longer has a bar, but it does have a hall, kitchen and toilets.
It also retains its pub sign, which has been restored.
Gary explained: “We kept the Rose and Crown sign to keep the originality of the place.”
The project is the joint effort of the parish and Suffolk County Councils with Beck Row Community Association.