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The village hall is now 100 years old and, not surprisingly, is becoming rather run down and potentially costly to maintain. Not least, it has continuing condensation problems and in the next few years the ceiling and part of the flooring may need replacing. The costs of doing so are likely to exceed the funds the GVI has or is likely to accumulate. The hall is also being used much less than it used to be. So we have to make some decisions as to what we do. The GVI committee have been considering this over the last few months and there has been a village meeting to discuss the situation.
We could continue to try to maintain the hall within the financial limits we have. It will probably continue to be useable for some years, but sooner or later it will not and its deterioration is inevitable. We have therefore looked at the possibility of building a new village hall.
The recent circular sent round then village is intended to get the views of the community on how to go forward. If the view is that we should sell land, there will then need to be a village meeting to make the final decision on whether to proceed.
THE CASES FOR AND AGAINST NEW VILLAGE HALL
The main arguments for building a new hall are these:
- The current hall will become more and more run down and increasingly expensive to maintain. If we do not build a new hall the eventual inevitability is that the hall will not be useable.
- A new hall would provide a modern building, more likely to attract people to events. more likely to be let so as to generate funds and less costly to maintain.
- A new hall could be designed so as to have multiple/flexible uses: eg including a stage, a bar area, a meeting room, a patio/ bbq area.
- If the pub was to close again and we did not have a village hall, we would have no community facility. A village hall guarantees such a facility.
- A new village hall also provides a legacy for future generations in the village.
The main arguments against building a new hall are these:
- The current hall can still be used and may have many years of life in it yet.
- To raise funds for a new hall, we may need to sell GVI land for development (see the explanation of costs and options below).
- The usage of village halls in general is declining and ours is no exception. Does such reduced usage justify the building of a new hall?
PRE-PLANNING APPLICATION AND HARROGATE BOROUGH COUNCIL
A pre-planning enquiry has been made to Harrogate Borough Council to ascertain if the sale of land is a possibility. This received a positive, if qualified, response from the Council (click here to see their response). A site visit by North Yorkshire Council has also indicated that vehicular access would be permitted.
The response from the Council does indicate that a stone built structure would be preferred. However a telephone discussion with the planner has ascertained that the Council would consider a wooden building. Click here to view a summary of that discussion.
It is important to emphasize that a positive response to a pre-planning application does not mean that planning permission would be eventually granted.
APPLYING FOR PLANNING PERMISSION
If we go ahead with the idea of a selling land the first step would be to apply for outline planning permission.
The cost of such an application, assuming building of 225-250 sq mts would be £1155-£1300. However, if the application is made by the parish council that fee is halved and would therefore be around £600 plus the cost of any architect’s drawings. We estimate that the overall cost may be around £800. This is a significant percentage (30-40%) of the funds the GVI currently have.
In the event of the eventual sale of land and the building of a new hall, the GVI would then need to apply for full planning permission for that hall. That, too, would incur costs.
THE PLOT OF LAND
An outline plan of the plot of land can be found by clicking here. That outline shows the part of the plot (800 sq yds or 669 sq mts) that might be sold for development and the likely vehicular access required. The size and shape of both the house and new village hall are purely indicative.
ESTIMATE OF POTENTIAL REVENUES FROM THE SALE OF LAND
To raise funds to build a new hall we could sell about a third of the land for the building of a house. We have investigated this possibility in consultation with a number of bodies. We have also received estimates of the value of such a sale: local estate agent Dacre Son and Hartley have suggested we might raise as much as £250,000 (click here to view their letter) and this has been supported in discussions with surveyors. A verbal estimate from Vinden Estates has, however, suggested a more likely sale value in the region of £150-175,000.
Another way of estimating possible sale value is on the basis of what a house on the site would be worth. Assuming a four bedroom house current market indications suggest, maybe £450,000- £500,000. A developer would base a value on one third of what he could sell a property for, thus suggesting a sale value of £150,000- £167,000.
Taking these estimates into consideration, the GVI committee has taken the view that a conservative estimate of the value of the sale of the land would be in the region of £175,000.
All of these are, of course, estimates and we could only find the real value by obtaining outline planning permission and inviting tenders.
…….AND LIKLEY BUILDING COSTS
Again estimates for the cost of building a village hall vary. We have received indications of the cost of building; from Rural Action Yorkshire as follows:
‘….a new hall that has been built in Ashurst, Hampshire, a “small timber-frame hall with no wet facilities”, costing £1806 per square metre’
John Witherick, a local architect, responsible for the new Grewelthorpe hall, has suggested that we should budget for £1800 per square metre allowing for landscaping, car parking etc.
However the cost of a wooden structure is likely to be less. Estimates here vary from £1000 to £1400 per square metre.
THE PURPOSE AND CONSTITUTION OF THE GVI
In all our considerations we need to bear in mind that the GVI is a registered charity. Its constitution states that the object of the GVI is to apply its income ‘for the purposes of a village hall and recreation for the use of the inhabitants of Galphay and neighbouring communities.’
OPTIONS AVAILABLE AND RATIONALES
The options set out in the circular which has been distributed to all on the Galphay electoral roll are now summarized, with the arguments for and against each of them.
In considering these options it is worth bearing in mind that our current village hall is around 180 sq metres including the ‘snooker room’ at the back. It should also be borne in mind that options 1 and 2, involving the sale of land, would mean that we would lose the tennis court area, though this has been very little used in the past few years.
Sale of land to build a stone built hall of 250 sq metres
A stone built hall would be in line with the preferred building style indicated by Harrogate Borough Council as being in keeping with the rest of the village. It is, however, an option that would likely mean having to raise external funding of £200,000 – £300,000 as building costs for a stone hall of 250 sq mts could reach £350,000 to £450,000. A stone built hall of the same size as the current hall would cost in the region of £300-320,000 and would therefore still require the raising of external funds. It should be borne in mind that funders typically expect a community to show that they can contribute to such funding, at least in part, by their own efforts.
Sale of land to build a smaller wooden hall of between 150 – 200 sq metres
This option means building a new modern wooden village hall of a similar size to the existing hall. The cost of such a building is likely to be £150- 200,000; so it may be possible to cover this cost from the proceeds from the land sale if we could realise £150,000 -£200,000 for that and thus avoid the need to attract external funding. External funding could then be sought for other amenities eg a children’s playground. A smaller building would also allow more space for developing other facilities such as a children’s play area, though external funding may be needed for this. It would, however, again mean losing the current tennis court area. A wooden building is, however, not the preferred option indicated by Harrogate Borough Council.
Replace the existing hall with a new hall of around 150 – 200 sq metres without selling land
This option means that we avoid selling any land. We could retain the tennis court with this option and retain all the space we currently have to utilise for a variety of purposes eg a childrens’ play area. However, as we would not be selling any land we would have to raise funds for the cost of the new hall and any other amenities. These required funds could be expected to be around £150,000 – £200,000 for a new wooden building and over £270,000 for a stone built hall. Funders typically expect a community to show that they can contribute to such funding, at least in part, by their own efforts.
Retain the existing hall and ‘make do’ as long as we can
We could carry on as we are, realizing the village hall is past its best days, but trying to keep it going as long as possible. However, unless we are able to attract renewed interest in the village hall or new funding, it is possible that a large repair bill could wipe out all of our funds and the hall will have to be closed down. Estimates of the cost of maintaining the current hall over the next 10 years vary from £20,000 to £50,000, sums which exceed the current funds being generated by the GVI.