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Village hall project gathering pace in Ridgewell




Ridgewell Village Hall Comittee has been set up to raise money for improvements to the hall. Malcolm Mason, John Arthur and Brian Teale are committee members. Mark Westley Photography
Ridgewell Village Hall Comittee has been set up to raise money for improvements to the hall. Malcolm Mason, John Arthur and Brian Teale are committee members. Mark Westley Photography

As fundraising continues for crucial improvements to Ridgewell’s outdated 1950s village hall and neighbouring play equipment the wheels have been put in motion for the submission of a planning application.

Villagers were recently invited to view and comment on the concept design for the upgrades to the hall and plans for additions and enhancement of the playing field facilities and gave it an overwhelming ‘thumbs up’.

A professional survey commissioned by the Village Hall Management Committee confirmed suspicions that the asbestos roof needs to be replaced and also found improvements are needed to its energy efficiency and utilisation, together with improving the facilities for youth and the younger population at the site.

A small Hall Improvement Project (HIP) team was set up to research the village’s needs and identify a way forward.

Burr and Neve Chartered Quantity Surveyors was appointed and Inkpen Downie Architecture & Design Limited selected to draw up a concept design based on the HIP’s client brief.

The concept design includes a new roof, a second meeting room for added flexibility, improvements to the reception area and access to the building and an enlarged car park.

The cost of the professional services employed to get to this stage was supported by grants from Essex County Council’s Communities Initiatives Fund (CIF) and the Awards for All programme of the National Lottery.

Village Hall chairman, Nick Rouse, said: “It is very difficult to get funding for paperwork exercises and Ridgewell is very grateful to these two grant providers for helping us to get this far.”

The next stage is for a formal planning application to be submitted and CIF has provided a second grant to help with this. If all goes well, and the necessary grant funding for construction can be obtained, it is hoped that work on the building will start in 2016.

Ridgewell Village Hall Management Committee introduced farmer’s markets last October to help raise funds for the two projects and they are held in the Drury Lane hall on the second Saturday of each month (except August) from 9.30am to midday.

The next one takes place on Saturday (13).

At the July 11 market,a car boot sale is planned as an additional fundraiser.

Pitches will cost £5 for cars and £7 for vans.

More information can be obtained from Nicola Williams, who helped to set up and now manages the markets on behalf of the Village Hall Management Committee, on 01440 785204 or you can visit the Ridgewell Parish Council Facebook page or www.essexinfo.net/Ridgewell-parish-council.

As the project went along, it was identified that the play equipment on the adjacent field does not meet the needs of the younger population.

Work has therefore been done to identify an enhanced range of play equipment to meet these needs and the installation of a Family Inclusive Sports Area (FISA) to provide facilities for netball, tennis and football, together with play walls for single and/or family games and sport.

Additional grant funding applications will be submitted for this work.



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