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Lowestoft - Mustard legacy leaves hall plans in a pickle

A primary school has been told it cannot expand into a village hall because a historic request by a member of the Colman family of mustard-makers decreed it should only be used for activities such as whist drives.

The Charity Commission blocked proposals for Corton Primary School near Lowestoft to refurbish Corton Village Hall and use it during school hours.

The commission based its decision on a 1934 bequest by the hall's former owner Alan Colman, who wanted it to be used for "social games" popular at the time.

Following protests from those involved in the plans, the commission has now started an "informal review" of the decision.

A spokesman for the commission said the hall trustees had not sufficiently demonstrated that it could no longer be used for its original purpose.

The parish council and hall trustees want to lease the hall to Suffolk County Council to accommodate extra pupils when middle schools are scrapped in the county. If the hall cannot be used, planning permission would have to be sought for an extension to the school.

Steven Taylor, chair of school governors and a parish councillor, said the hall was currently unheated, unclean, and "hardly used" by villagers.

"It needs lots of work to bring it into the 21st century," he said. "The pupils and teachers put a lot of thought into how a refurbished hall would benefit the whole community." ib.

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