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Village Hall Refurbishment

The Village Hall has served Blewbury well for over 30 years but now we need a modern facility that's fit for the future.

After extensive consultation involving individual village residents, clubs and societies, our appointed architects have delivered preliminary plans designed to:

  • Add extra space to make a larger Post Office, Vale Room, kitchen and storage area, and add more toilets
  • Improve the connectivity with the school
  • Upgrade all services and décor
  • Improve sustainability (efficiency and insulation)

The disappointment is that the quantity surveyors think this might cost in the order of £600,000, which is more than we had hoped and expected. We therefore asked people at a public exhibition last year whether we should press on and see if we can raise this sort of money and how we should prioritise, if we need to compromise.

The overwhelming (88%) view of those completing the questionnaire was that we should press on. People were enthusiastic about this though they recognised that it would be a challenge and there was some concern about how long it might take. If it turns out that we can’t raise the money to deliver this scheme completely, the highest priorities of people were for a larger Post Office and modernised services.

There were some specific criticisms of the current scheme, which we will need to consider, including some strong opposition to the proposed reconfiguration of the surgery waiting area.

We now need to discuss the cost plan with the quantity surveyors to understand their assumptions and the main contributors to the costs and where we can find savings. We also need to prepare a planning application. Also, while the feedback from the exhibition is very helpful, it does represent the views of a relatively small number of people. We will therefore be preparing a mailshot to everyone in the village, describing the proposals (taking account of the feedback and our further discussion on costs) and specifically asking for people’s support and whether they will be prepared to pledge a personal donation to the project. While we will be applying for grants, the village itself will need to provide a substantial proportion of the funds and we need to understand people’s willingness to help.