New Community Hall Update

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Update from the Parish Council Chairman

I know that some people are wondering what is happening with the new hall, when they will be able to use it, whether the activities they currently attend in the village hall will still be in the village hall next year, and how much it will cost to book the new hall. We cannot tell you very much but what information I do have I will share with you, and perhaps allay some of the rumours.

In 2017 we were given unrealistic expectations that the hall would be completed by April 2018. This slipped to July, then September, then ‘in the new year’. My guess is that April 2019 is more likely. The parish council is now receiving copies of the Building Inspector’s reports of progress, or lack of it, in the building of the hall. As of the most recent report, the outer shell and interior walls are now complete. Ceiling joists are in place, and some of the first fit plumbing has been carried out, and first fit electrics started. The windows have been fitted, and temporary external doors, so that the beautiful final hardwood doors do not get damaged while it is still a building site. So there is still a lot of work to be completed.

As with every other development site in the area, and possibly the country, Hayfield are short of the skilled tradesmen that are required. They would rather use their team of known, reliable craftsman that they are having to juggle with work on their other sites elsewhere in the country. Having heard the tales from a builder friend who gets called in to put right the mistakes that building workers have made on other sites I am glad Hayfield are using  workmen they believe they can trust. The section 106 Agreement with CDC stipulates that the developers ‘must not cause or permit to be occupied more than 75% of the dwellings on site until the Community Hall is completed and ready for public use.’ So they can’t just build and sell the houses. The building inspector, CDC planning dept. and the parish council are all putting pressure on them to proceed with work. Once the building is complete there will be an inspection and snagging process and a legal hand-over to CDC, to comply with the Sec 106, before all the legalities to transfer ownership to the parish council, which could take some time through the solicitors! There will then have to be a period of further equipping and setting up which really cannot happen until the hall is in our possession.

In the meantime, we have an agreement with the Village Hall Management Committee to continue operating, even through to a reasonable overlap period of the two halls running for a while, as yet unspecified.

The present Steering/management committee for the community hall are working towards a charging structure for bookings of the new hall, extrapolated from the figures of other comparable halls, and will publish these when they are finished. Costs for local residents, especially regular bookings, will be kept as low as is practicable, and be offset by some commercial bookings to outside bodies. Members of the committee are currently working on the business plan, costs of equipment requirements, funding and grant applications, the constitution and charitable status and a variety of management issues. There are still vacancies for anyone willing to join this interim group, or the longer-term Management team, for all the exciting prospects of the new Bourtons Community Hall.

Sally Leszczynski. 18.12.2018

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