Brentor’s Village Hall and Playing Field Committee has been looking for ideas on how to move forward with the Village Hall. They are a registered charity, whose duty is to run the Village Hall and Playing Field for the benefit of our community.
Although the Hall was improved with a new kitchen, toilets and store in 2010, the old part of the building, dating from 1912, has significant problems with its fabric. About 20 villagers (including most of the Parish Council) went to the meeting about future plans for the Hall and heard from Sheryl Burroughs, the Chair of the Committee, that a structural survey of the hall has revealed that the Hall’s outer cladding will need complete replacement. This could apparently cost up to £30,000, and the Committee asked for suggestions on how the money could be raised. Click here to read the full Village Hall Structural survey.
However, members of the audience questioned the sense of spending so much money, only to end up with a building with the same problems as at present. As well as the issues with the cladding, they pointed out that there are problems with the floor structure, which will probably soon need replacing at considerable cost. Also the completely uninsulated nature of the building leads to condensation and mould growth on the inside walls. Due to the timber-frame construction of the building it is not possible to insulate the walls and roof within the structure, and the roof would not be strong enought to be insulated internally. A representative of Brentor Parish Council said that the Parish Council had discussed the issues of the Hall and would not support any proposals just to maintain the Hall as it is. It was said that Government regulations relating to the declared Climate Emergency would necessitate improving the environmental sustainability of the Hall if it is to remain open in the future. It was also pointed out that most grant-giving bodies these days rightly insist on building work improving the sustainability of the building being funded, so the likelihood of funds being available to maintain the status quo were therefore reduced.
Many attendees at the meeting expressed a great love for the Hall in its present form, but the meeting overwhelmingly came to the conclusion that it would be far wiser to attempt to rebuild the Hall, enabling it to be properly insulated and to improve the quality of its provision for our village. When the Hall was refurbished in 2010 with a new kitchen, toilets, store and disabled persons’ facilities, the grant applications were made on the understanding that this was phase 1 of the project, with the replacement of the main hall as a phase 2 for the future. The new build was constructed so that this could happen, and therefore only the hall would need to be replaced completely. It was suggested that, with careful design from a sympathetic architect, the new Hall would be able to preserve its current welcoming atmosphere and character.
There was also concern about closing the Hall for up to a year during the rebuilding period. However, when the Hall was closed in 2009/10 for the phase 1 rebuild, events such as the Mistletoe Fair were successfully held elsewhere in the village and the Brentorians created a film rather than a play. When the improved Hall reopened in 2010 there was a marked surge in bookings due to its much improved facilities. Now that the Hall owns a marquee this could be used on the playing field for larger events during the closure period.
A number of attendees at the meeting volunteered to help with fundraising for a hall rebuild, and at the end of the evening the Village Hall and Playing Field Committee agreed to discuss this matter at their next meeting and to progress this issue further in the near future – watch this space!