As the Diss Corn Hall enters the home stretch of its huge two-year refurbishment project, its director says visitors will experience a “wow factor” when it finally re-opens in early May.
New photographs have given a glimpse into the Corn Hall’s work-in-progress renovations and extensions which, when completed, will mark the first step in the town’s £3.2 million Heritage Triangle regeneration.
Angela Sykes, director of Diss Corn Hall, revealed that the project had not been without surprises and a few problems, but she said the end result would be a Corn Hall that, in many ways, looked “more like its true self”.
She told the Diss Express: “I suppose it feels like we’ve all been on this long and interesting journey together – staff, trustees, volunteers, and of course the people of Diss – but now we’re near the end, we can’t wait to get home!”
While surprises were “almost inevitable” because of the building’s age, she explained, among the unexpected finds was a network of underground pipes that fed the original heating system, providing extra insight into the venue’s history, but also creating difficulties for their works.
This discovery will be explored in an exhibition following the Corn Hall’s re-opening.
Ms Sykes said that much of the work to the interior had been replacing unattractive aspects with improved fittings, including “stunning light boxes” which, she believes, will emulate how the building’s original glazed roof lights had appeared decades ago.
“The new entrance lobby has really surprised and impressed those who took advantage of the building progress tours last year, so I’m confident that whether people are returning to the Corn Hall, or seeing it for the first time, there’ll be a definite wow-factor,” she said.
While the works have been ongoing, she added, their On Tour programme of events had helped them forge “great relationships” with venues in and around Diss, and Ms Sykes hopes this will keep going after the Corn Hall returns.
She said: “Audiences have been incredibly game and have really enjoyed discovering other venues in the area. In fact, we’ve been asked to please continue with some of our outdoor events, and I have a number of those booked already for the summer.”