Before the new village hall can
go to tender with building contractors three tasks have to be completed. The
first is finalising the financial package and the second is completing all the
technical work specifying exactly how it should be built. Finally, a legal
agreement will need to drawn up between the parish council and the hall
trustees before any work can start.
parish council has received notification that the loan can be drawn down to
support the project. Obviously, there will be further work behind the scenes to
make this happen but it is a crucial step and we are very grateful to the parish
council for pursuing this on our behalf. The other work in hand is to finalise
just how much money is available through what is known as section 106 monies
paid to the district council by developers to be used for the benefit of the
community. To this are added the monies given over the years by the parish
council, savings by the village hall committee and finally the money raised so
generously by the appeals committee as reported in last month’s magazine. Also,
we have not given up on seeking grants that would make it possible to have the
hall fully equipped and functional from day one. How much of our wish list is
achievable will only be known when the final tender is agreed.
In the meantime, architectural
work has been started. This has triggered ground investigation at the site to
make sure that the specification for the foundations is correct. Issues of soil
strength and height of water table have to be considered. To satisfy planning
conditions we also have to have a tree survey. We already know that there are
no bats roosting and that there is no asbestos in the building.
Construction projects are always
complex, we have taken advice and appointed a project manager who will work
with all the other professionals to keep things on track and with the quantity
surveyor to make sure that costs are controlled. We may not make our hoped for start
date of October 1st but it should not be too long after that. In the
meantime, the hall continues to be in use and provisional plans are being made
for the relocation of our regular users. Having tried to avoid any further
expenditure on the current hall, the potholes in the car park became so bad
that leaving them for another three or four months was not tenable. Similarly,
I am very grateful to David Baxter for literally bailing us out of a plumbing
crisis during a busy weekend. It has also been very heartening, on the back of
the progress made, that individuals within the village are coming forward with
very useful ideas and are volunteering to run with them on our behalf.
Given everything that is happening,
we felt it was time to complete the red line on the thermometer outside the
hall, very apt, given the weather!