A club at the heart of the community in Ripley is celebrating a successful push to expand at the historic town hall.
Ripley Star Club's plans to establish a new and larger bar space at the Gothic style Ripley Town Hall has been approved, allowing them to make use of space left vacant by the closure of a hairdressers and the move of the Post Office last year.
The decision has been welcomed by the club who will now be able to expand music and social events at the mid 19th century building, alongside increasing the support they offer to the community.
Andy Harrington, Secretary of Ripley Star Club said:“By being able to take over this space we will be able to turn over more room to expand the kitchen, which is used for preparing meals by the local primary school, and give them more room to hold PE classes and events.
He added: “The club is the centre in Ripley for a lot of things like social, sport and music events. But we are also home to many clubs like the WI, snooker leagues and adult education classes.”
Planning documents show that while the current bar used by the club in the town hall will be converted into a meeting area for Ripley Endowed Church of England Primary School additional space will be allocated for the kitchen to expand.
For the new bar to be put in place only modern plasterboard walls between the two vacant spaces will be removed at the grade two listed town hall. Future patrons of the bar will enter through a seating area in the former post office space, while the bar area will occupy the former hairdressers.
Last year as part of changes within the Post Office Ltd subsidies were to be withdrawn from the village town hall site. Of the options available for Ripley to keep a post office it would be required to run for longer hours and on weekends.
There was no scope to extend or expand into an adjacent buildings at the town hall but fortunately commercial space was found for a post office to be kept in the village.
The lease on the former post office space was also retained by President of the Ripley Star club, Sir Thomas Ingilby, whose ancestor Sir William Amcotts Ingilby had the building constructed in 1854.
While the club gave thanks to Sir Ingilby for allowing them to take on the lease he applauded the work of the club and the benefit the plans could bring to Ripley.
Sir Ingilby said: "We thought the plans would fit the club and they were pleased with the idea and what it could as they host concerts and functions.
He added: "I am absolutely delighted myself at the news on the plans, it is a great thing for the village and the community as the club is already so well used by people in Ripley and the wider area with people travelling across the North East to come here."