What we want to do…
The village hall is a wonderful asset to our village, however it is getting on for nearly 40 years old and there are aspects of it which need updating.
We now have planning permission and are applying for grants to fund the improvement works. Wivelsfield Parish Council are also actively supporting us and have contributed Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) receipts to the project.
The plans for the extension to the hall are shown on the drawings and these will provide us with:
New toilets and a separate disabled toilet to meet the current guidelines.
At the moment our toilets are not suited to disabled users and it can be a worrying experience for disabled people coming to the hall.
The adult toilets will be re-sited and enlarged to provide modern facilities capable of coping when the hall is busy.
We do not have any children’s toilets.The Wivelsfield Playgroup is an important customer of the village hall and they have an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating. However, their children have to use adult toilets which are not really suitable and there are no nappy changing facilities. The works therefore include separate children’s toilets and nappy changing facilities for all users of the hall.
The design of the hall means that the front doors are often left open, which rapidly lets out a lot of heat from the hall. The new extension incorporates a separate lobby area with sliding front doors to minimise heat loss.
Loft storage area
The loft above the eastern end of the building is used mainly by the Little Theatre Group for the storage of their props and equipment. This storage area is currently accessed by a pull-down ladder from the lobby area which can be dangerous when having to move the larger pieces of equipment. It also creates problems during performances when the backstage crew have to go up and down to the loft. The new plans will enable us to replace the pull-down ladder with permanent stairs, as well as increasing the storage area.
The Reading Room has become a storage area rather than a quiet room.
The Reading Room is an important facility in the Hall. It can serve as a small meeting room, an “outreach” room to chat privately and even a cloakroom for events. In the proposed extension the room will have windows facing onto the green and incorporate new storage cupboards.
The entrance to the Village Hall has always seemed rather anonymous.
Our aim is to relocate the main doors to look out onto the car park so visitors immediately see a welcoming entrance. We will redesign the car parking spaces in the lower car park so that there is a clear and level walkway to the doors, and the lobby area will have some casual seating and be free of any other items.
In addition to the above changes which will be submitted for planning approval, we will also aim to improve the following, depending on whether sufficient grants can be obtained. Alternatively, these changes could be scheduled in future years:
The hall is heated by electric storage heaters, supplemented by other wall heaters when needed. This method of heating is very inflexible and of course, is relatively expensive. The ideal solution would be to change to gas-fired heating which would then be controllable so that if the hall was empty then the heating could be reduced accordingly. A preliminary report has been prepared but more detailed thought is needed on how to incorporate such a system; our advice though, is that it should be worthwhile when viewed as a life cycle cost against the current system.
The kitchen has served us well during the life of the hall, but it is now showing its age. To suit our 2019 needs would require an upgrade to stainless steel worktops and equipment, to comply with catering standards. The cooker is also in need of urgent replacement.
The windows and firedoors to the main hall have now been replaced with smart, grey, aluminium double glazed units to reduce heat loss and improve the sound insulation. The new windows also increase the amount of light in the hall. This design will be continued throughout the building when the improvements are made.
The hall has an enclosed area on the southern side of the building. This is currently used by Playgroup but is in a rather rundown state. Playgroup and the Village Hall Committee have agreed improvement plans for this area, part of which will allow some community use.
Also the doors into the Renshaw Room need to be changed in design to meet current disability access conditions.
It is a big list of improvements and some of them may have to wait. However, it is better to have plans in place if grants do become available which we can use.
If you want to know more or have a list of the improvements please read the project strategy document here.
If you have any comments please contact us!