If you have any other questions, let us know and we’ll try to answer them.
Nobody has told us that they want us to close the hall. The vast majority of the village has told us that the hall is essential to the wellbeing of the village. Unless we do this work, the hall will progressively become dilapidated and fall into disuse and will have to be closed. We are trying to incorporate some enhancements which the village has told us would be beneficial, but at the very minimum we have to refurbish what we already have to keep the hall in operation for another generation.
To build a new hall of similar size and with similar facilities as the existing hall would cost of order £1.25m. In any case, the existing hall is structurally sound and, subject to refurbishment, meets the needs of the village. Knocking it down is unaffordable and bad value for money.
The hall is 40 years old, so it’s not surprising that it needs something more fundamental than redecoration. There are some areas of dilapidation, e.g. in the flat roofs and floors, which, if we don’t do something soon, will fail. We also need a complete re-wire, new lights, heating and ventilation. We have included some enhancements, in response to comments from the village:
- Vale Room toilets moved to Vale Room store
- A new store accessible from Main Hall
- Additional external door to Main Hall (providing potential access to school grounds in due course)
- Larger waiting/meeting room
As so much needs to be replaced or upgraded to modern standards, we are doing more than sprucing it up. We also hope to incorporate some enhancements to facilities, which villagers have told us would be beneficial. We also have to cover professional fees and, because not all the money is coming from the Parish Council, we will have to pay some VAT. We have chosen our contractor on the basis of best value for money following a competitive tender which attracted 12 bids.
A competitive tender for a scheme which included all of these things gave us prices of around £700,000. We did then spend a lot of time working with a builder to see if we could reduce the price but found it impossible, without substantial risk, to achieve a price below £500,000.
We still think this would bring benefits but it would involve some additional works. We are, however, including two sets of glazed double doors on the west side of the main hall which will give us the option in future of accessing the school grounds from the hall.
We are insulating the loft and roofs, installing LED lights and new water and space heating throughout all of which will improve energy efficiency and comfort. We will also replace the remaining single-glazed with double-glazed windows. We cannot afford to insulate the walls as we had previously hoped.
The cuts in subsidy and availability of funds make these impossible to afford at present. It remains an ambition to install them as a future standalone project.
We are trying to make space more flexible and suitable for a wider range of uses. The surgery office takes away space from the current waiting room. By removing it, we can make the space of more general value for meetings and in support of events in the Main Hall. The surgery receptionist will set up within the room. The Woodlands Health Centre, including the receptionists, has been consulted and fully supports what we are doing.
The present arrangements do not provide complete confidentiality and there will be a removable screen to screen the receptionists computer and to separate the receptionist from the waiting room. We are also improving the sound insulation between the waiting and consulting rooms. Any conversations of particular sensitivity will though need to take place in the consulting room or elsewhere in the hall.
The Parish Council increased the precept three years ago to cover the cost of a loan for the refurbishment. Given the success of the fundraising, no further increases will be required to fund the refurbishment.