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Bury St Edmunds' finest building


Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 1RH

Terms and Conditions of Hire

As of 1st September 2018

These “Terms and Conditions of Hire” are applicable to Hire Agreements signed after the 1stSeptember 2018. It is important that you read them carefully as there are important changes which may effect your decision as to whether this lovely old building is suitable for the event you are planning. You are also advised to view the premises before deciding to hire.

The Unitarian Meeting House is managed by the House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees, an excepted charity.

Hiring is made on the basis of a Hiring Agreement between the House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees and the Hirer who signs the Agreement. The Hire Agreement acts as a contract making the Hirer responsible for ensuring compliance with these Conditions of Hire.


The person who signs the Hiring Agreement is the Hirer, and is personally responsible during the period of the hiring for:

supervision of the premises, the fabric and the contents;
the care of the premises, safety from damage however slight or change of any sort;
the behaviour of all persons using the premises whatever their capacity. 
Ensuring that the Public Safety Conditions in this document are adhered to.

Use of Premises

1. The Hirer shall not use the premises for any purpose other than that described in the Hiring Agreement and shall not sub-hire or use the premises or allow the premises to be used for any unlawful purpose or in any unlawful way. Using the building for a religious or political meeting will need special permission from the Unitarian Trustees who own the building.

2. Gaming, betting and lotteries.The Hirer shall ensure that nothing is done on or in relation to the premises in contravention of the law relating to gaming, betting and lotteries.

3.  Noise and nuisance.The Hirer shall ensure that the minimum of noise is made on arrival and departure, particularly at night and that the noise level and behaviour at their

function does not cause inconvenience, annoyance or offence to the neighbours.   

4.  (i)Premises License no. PLO5148 allows for:

(a) Provision of alcohol for consumption. The following conditions apply:

No consumptionof alcohol is allowed unless detailed in the hire agreement. 
Provision includes the selling and free serving of alcohol and it must be consumed in the building. No opened bottles, cans or glasses of alcohol can be taken outside the building. 
No alcohol is to be sold, served or given to anyone under eighteen years of age or to anyone who appears to be drunk.
All bottles and broken glass are to be taken away by the hirer at the end of the event.
The providing, serving or selling of alcohol Monday to Thursday and Sundays must cease by 22.00hrs and on Friday and Saturday must cease by 23.30hrs for a late night hire. Considering the above times, the providing, serving or selling of alcohol must cease in time to vacate the premises at the agreed end of hire time. The building must be vacated and locked by the end of the hire time.
All persons under 18 to be supervised by an adult

(b) Regulated Entertainment which consists of:

a performance of a play is permitted on no more than 15 occasions p.a. 
an exhibition of a film is permitted on no more than 15 occasions p.a. 
a performance of live music is permitted on no more than 15 occasions p.a.
any playing of recorded music is permitted on no more than 15 occasions p.a. 
a performance of dance, no limit  

The following conditions apply:

The Hirer must ensure that Public Safety conditions in this document are adhered to.
The noise and vibration are kept to an acceptable level so as not to disturb neighbours.
All doors and windows to be kept closed to reduce noise from the entertainment being heard outside.
All persons under 18 must be supervised by an adult
Children can only view films according to the correct age-related classification by the British Board of Film Classification.
All forms of the above entertainment must cease in time to allow for vacating the building promptly at the end of the hire time.  In addition, whatever the end of hire time is; entertainment must cease no later than 22.00hrs Monday to Thursday and on Sundays and no later than 23.00hrs on Friday and Saturday. Films must finish no later than 22.00hrs any day.   


4  (ii) Meeting House Performing Right and PPL Licences

These allow for the performance of Live and Recorded Music respectively.

5.  Fly posting. The Hirer shall not carry out or permit fly posting or any other form of unauthorised advertisements for any event taking place at the premises and shall indemnify and keep indemnified the House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees accordingly against all actions, claims and proceedings arising from any breach of this condition. Failure to observe this condition may lead to prosecution by the local authority. 

6. No alterations and attachments. The building is Grade I and is costly to redecorate as special paints and specialist decorators are necessary. These paints damage easily unlike modern paints and will chip or rub off with a damp cloth, therefore the House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees must insist that: 

No alterations or additions may be made to the premises
No fixtures can be installed 
No placards, decorationsor other articles are to be attached in any way to any part of the interior or exterior of building. This includes glue, all types of sticky tape, blue and white tac, staples and nails, which are prohibited.

7.  Sale of goods.The Hirer shall, if selling goods on the premises, comply with Fair Trading Laws and any code of practice used in connection with such sales. In particular, the Hirer shall ensure that the total prices of all goods and services are prominently displayed, as shall be the organiser's name and address.

8.  Stored equipment.The House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees accepts no responsibility for any stored equipment or other property brought on to or left on the premises, and all liability or loss or damage is hereby excluded. 

Public Safety

1.  Smoking. Smoking is not permitted on the premises at any time. There is a sand bucket provided by the entrance gate for the disposal of cigarette butts.

2.  Capacity.  For Fire Safety the maximum capacity must not be exceeded. The wording peoplemeans everyone – not just your audience or guests, but speakers, performers, crew, catering staff, waitresses etc. Standing maximum120 people with only the four fixed leg tables that are always out and no chairs. Seated lecture style maximum 100 people. If any people are seated at tables there must be no more than 80 people present and the tables used must be the trestle tables provided.


3.  The gallery. The public are not allowed access to the gallery and furniture must not be moved upstairs.

4.   Fire.The Hirer agrees:

Upon arrival to note the location of all fire alarm points, extinguishers, fire exits and the assembly pointon the pavement outside.
To ensure all persons upon arrival are aware of the position of all the fire exits from the main hall, kitchen and toilet areas and also the assembly point 
To check the emergency exit signs are illuminated.
To check that there are no obvious fire hazards on the premises
To call the Fire Brigade to any outbreak of fire however small and to inform the House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees. Phone numbers are on the notice boards inside and outside the building. There is no phone on the premises so please make sure a mobile is available.

5. Explosives and flammable substances. There is a total ban on the use of fireworks, smoke machines or any form of pyrotechnics on any part of the premises, inside or outside. The hirer shall ensure that:

(a) Highly inflammable substances are not brought into or used in any part of the premises.

(b) No internal decorations of a combustible nature (e.g. polystyrene, cotton wool) shall be erected without the consent of the House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees. No decorations are to be put near light fittings.

6.  Health and Hygiene

(a)  The Hirer shall, if preparing, serving or selling food, observe all the relevant food health and hygiene legislation and regulations. In particular dairy products, vegetables and meat on the premises must be refrigerated and stored in compliance with the Food Temperature Regulations. The premises are provided with an under counter refrigerator. No food preparation or cooking must take place in the outside area of the premises 


(b)  No animals or birds are allowed on the premises with the exception of Guide and Hearing Dogs. No animals whatsoever are to enter the kitchen.

(c)  Please bring your own tea towels and washing up consumables and take them home at the end of the hire. Any tea towels or dish cloths found left drying after the hire will be disposed of.

7.  Electrical Appliance Safety.Any electrical equipment brought onto the premises and used there must be safe, in good working order, used in a safe manner and have an up to date PAT test certificate.

8.  Unauthorised items. 

The Hirer must ensure that no person shall bring onto any part of the premises any: 

additional furniture (including tables)
cooking appliances (including mobile ovens, barbecues or hog roast spits) 
heating appliances 
additional fittings, lights or structures for theatre productions must be approved by the House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees
No illegal drugs may be brought onto the property

No alcohol is to be brought onto the premises unless detailed in the hire agreement.

9.  Indemnity, insurance and damage.

The Hirer is liable for any damage and will indemnify the House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees against all losses, claims, damage or injury which may be incurred by, or to any person attending the premises during the hiring.
The hirer should ensure that appropriate insurance is in place for the purpose of the hire and is sufficient to cover all its legal liabilities for accidents resulting in injuries to persons and/or loss of or damage to property, including the hired premises.
The House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees has public liability insurance against any claims arising out of its own negligence.
The Hirer must report to the Manager (phone numbers below and on notice boards) any damage to any part of the premises.

10.  Accidents and dangerous occurrences.A First Aid Box, an Accident Book and Emergency Numbers can be found on the kitchen window sill.

The Hirer must complete the relevant details of any accident in the Accident Book and report to the Manager as soon as possible.
Any failure of equipment belonging to the Hall or brought in by the Hirer must also be reported as soon as possible.
Children are not allowed in the kitchen.
Overcrowding in the kitchen must be avoided.
Certain types of accident or injury must be reported on a special form to the local authority. This is in accordance with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).

11.  Safety of Children.The Hirer shall ensure that any activities for children under eight years of age comply with the provisions of The Children Act of 1989.

12.  Safeguarding Hirers are expected to have their own safeguarding policies relating to children (and also adults with care and support needs) attending events, and are responsible for all safeguarding issues related to their own event.  


The hirer is liable for all hire fees whether the venue is used or not. If the Hirer gives sufficient notice of cancellation, part or all of the hire charge may be rebated. 

The House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees reserves the right to cancel this hiring by written notice to the Hirer in the event of:

(a)  the House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees reasonably considering that (i) such hiring will lead to a breach of licensing conditions, or other statutory requirements, or (ii) unlawful or unsuitable activities will take place at the premises as a result of this hiring.

(b)  the premises becoming unfit for the use intended by the Hirer

(c) an emergency requiring the use of the premises as a shelter.

In any such case the House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees shall not be liable to the Hirer for any resulting direct or indirect loss or damages whatsoever.

Further conditions and information for the Hirer

1. The Unitarian Meeting House is normally available for hire from 8.00hrs until 23.00hrs hours Monday to Sunday. Very rarely it may be later by special arrangement. Hire times must include time for preparation/setting up and clearing away. If items are put in the hall making it unavailable for other hirers, the hire period must include the entire period that you have the use of the premises for storage and the actual event.   

2.  Usually the caretaker or Manager will unlock at the time you have booked but it might be necessary to contact you to make different arrangements. Please be on time as the building must not be left opened and unoccupied at any time during the period of hire. The gate may be closed but not locked if the caretaker is inside the building, enter through the kitchen door at the side.

3.  Upon entering the building carry out the conditions in item 3 under Public Safety.

4.  Make sure the water heaters are on. Kitchen = in the cupboard under the draining board. Toilets = in the disabled toilet left of water tank. 

5.  The Hirer is responsible for putting out the furniture as required and returning it at the end of hire to the correct positions. Chairs without arms can be stacked no more than 4 high against the wall near the toilets. Chairs with arms are not stacked but placed around the perimeter. 

6.  The light switches for the main hall are in the cupboard under the stairs on the kitchen side. The ceiling wash lights are separate and above. The kitchen lights are in the kitchen. The toilet lights are automatic. Please remember to switch off lights at the end of hire.  

7.  The heating is underfloor and through vents around the perimeter. These must not be covered up. The heating will be set for your hire period from the boiler house. Do not attempt to change the temperature of the hall by using the dials near the toilet entrance. Theymust notbe touched. 

8.   It is no longer possible to supervise deliveries. The hirer is responsible for arranging deliveries for when they have the hire of the hall and when they are present. The building must not be left unlocked and unattended and the Caretaker or Manager are not on call or available at short notice. They will only be available at the beginning and end of the hire unlessa special arrangement has been organised, this will normally incur additional hire fees.

9.  Leave the building in a clean and tidy condition. Wipe clean tables and kitchen surfaces. Clear up any spillages. A broom and dustpan and brush are kept in the cupboard under the stairs. Check the toilets are clean. The House Committee of the Unitarian Trustees reserves the right to charge for any extra cleaning.  Don't forget to take home your tea towels and washing up consumables.

10.  Remove rubbish and recycle this where possible. Do not put plastic bags in the blue bin.  The bins are clearly labelled what is acceptable for each.

11. Turn off, water heaters and all lights and sockets, except those labelled “do not turn off”.

12. Report any damage and malfunctioning equipment.

13. Do not leave the building unattended until it is securely locked.



Contacts for your hire of the Unitarian Meeting House: 

Manager    075149 27049

Caretaker   078243 64933