Restoration Project

Latest news

Planning permission for the Restoration Project has been granted. Join us at the Spring Fair, Brightfest and the Village Fete to hear more!

We are delighted to announce that planning permission to restore the Village Hall was granted in February 2024. The next step is to launch a massive fundraising campaign. As a small Village Hall, we can only achieve this project by raising funds, primarily by securing significant grants.

A Funding Group has been created and is carefully researching grants to create a fundraising plan.

The Trustees have worked closely with the Parish Council and the Village Stores Committee to ensure they are fully involved in the project. The Parish Council has supported the project with a grant to enable it to progress to planning.

Background

In 2018, the Village Hall Trustees commissioned a survey and condition report of the building that highlighted the need for urgent action to ensure it can survive and thrive for future generations.

The condition report was shared with the village, and input and feedback came from two community surveys. To engage with the village, we attend all local events like the Spring Fair, Brightfest and the Village Garden Fete. Regular updates are posted on the Village Facebook page, and a Village Hall article is published in every edition of The Villager.

The Village Hall is used by many groups and clubs. It is home to the Village Toddlers, the WI, indoor bowls, badminton, dance groups, keep-fit and Pilates, the Lunch Club and local war gaming clubs. Parish Council Meetings, band practices, parties, film shows and talks, theatre productions and many annual community events, such as the Village Quiz and the Wassail party, are held here. Many fundraising events for well-supported village charities such as Save the Children, Save the Bone, and Brightwell Supporting Refugees use the hall, and it has also hosted a home-schooling group for parents and students. The archives of the Village History Group are stored in the building.

There is overwhelming support from the village to restore and improve the hall to ensure it remains at the heart of our community.

Design

After a thorough selection process, the Trustees appointed Acanthas Clews Architects to work with us on the restoration project.

Based on all the preparation work carried out, Acanthas Clews were given the following brief:

Aesthetics

  • Create an attractive venue, capable of providing excellent facilities for weddings, parties, receptions and other special events.
  • Retain the clock tower and front façade, together with a full-height window on the south elevation.
  • Maintain the Victorian vernacular of the existing building, particularly the main hall.
  • Retain the current roof line of the main hall.
  • Maintain the iconic status of the building within the village scene.
  • The use of external shutters/security doors should be avoided if possible (subject to insurance requirements - relevant to the Post Office located within the Village Stores).

  • Spaces

  • Current space configuration is poor, resulting in a lack of flexibility; the new layout should address this issue.
  • Greater capacity in the main hall (currently 100 seated at tables, 150 seated theatre style).
  • Increased storage capacity. Tables and chairs will be stored in a dedicated storage area adjacent to the main hall.
  • Storage for user groups to be clearly defined and accessible when the main hall is in use.
  • Kitchen to be located centrally and able to meet the revised Hall capacity.
  • Toilet areas to meet the needs for the maximum Hall capacity and to be accessible from all areas, including the Village Stores.
  • Hall to have sufficient ceiling height for theatre and cinema productions (also badminton).
  • Create one further self-supporting area, potentially a meeting room (capacity 20).
  • Create rentable office space/remote working spaces, possibly combined with flexible meeting room space.
  • Introduction of a mezzanine floor over the northern end of the Main Hall, (with perhaps a viewing gallery). This floor could meet some of the requirements for additional space.
  • Consider providing further first-floor space above the single-storey section to the east of the main hall (above the existing kitchen and toilets).

  • Facilities

  • Access to all parts of the building to be for all, irrespective of ability.
  • Kitchen facilities to be to a commercial standard i.e. commercial cooking, refrigeration and dishwasher provision, together with appropriate storage for all crockery, cutlery, glassware, saucepans etc.
  • Meeting and office spaces must have access to toilets, storage, tea and coffee facilities.
  • Main Hall to incorporate space for a full-size badminton court, plus consideration for the requirements of other indoor sports.
  • Provision of staging for theatre productions and other events (needs to be stored when not in use).
  • Provision for dance/gym/fitness classes.
  • New main hall to have timber-sprung floor to an appropriate standard.
  • Consideration to be given to the division of Main Hall with retractable wall sections to create smaller spaces.
  • Consider introducing a high-level walkway to access first-floor spaces, with access via the mezzanine floor and a new staircase from the existing entrance Hall area.
  • Incorporate powered black-out blinds to the main Hall windows.

  • Environmental

  • Heating and ventilation systems need to be efficient, easy to use and create a good environment for the building's users.
  • Lighting must be controllable, efficient and easy to use, to suit all activities.
  • If feasible, renewable energy sources should be considered as part of the overall energy strategy for the building in line with the government zero-carbon target.
  • Current insulation standards to be adopted throughout the building.
  • Consideration to be given to achieving a “very good” BREEAM standard for the completed building.

  • Building/Maintenance

  • Move the main access to the building to the west side (this is currently the access to the shop and the rear access to the Stewart Room). Access will be shared with the Village Stores, directly from the car park.
  • Retain the Village Stores in its current position.
  • If Consider the removal of the internal wall between the Hall and kitchen/lobby area and replaced with a steel-supported structure to create additional spaces adjacent to the Main Hall.
  • The existing single-storey structure north of the Main Hall will be replaced with a two-storey structure to accommodate a new main entrance, staircase and lift, offices, meeting space and toilet facilities.
  • All the current building maintenance issues to be resolved, particularly the rising damp and high-level damp ingress.
  • High-quality materials to be used throughout the renovation, to minimise maintenance issues in the future.
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