New Village Hall Timeline

This page is dedicated to keeping a timeline of the progress of building our new village hall (it begins at the bottom and reads up to the most recent entry).      

Here's a link to the full history of the hall project and hall plan which was presented at the AGM on 23rd November 2017.     

2018 - Updating the community

In June 2018 we distributed a newsletter to the whole community updating them on the progress so far.

We explained that having investigated alternative designs put forward by another group the following has been ascertained:

1) Fjordhus provided an ‘instant quote’ for a ‘turn-key’ operation, making initial assumptions on items such as utilities, site and ground conditions, and were then requested to give a second quote based on the S&B drawings. This quote, at £372k, was for a building with a lower specification and also did not include costs for elements such as external works, demolition of the current hall, extra storage space, design fees, a contingency element or inflation. 

2) Homelodge, based near Winchester, gave an estimated cost of £2-2.2k per square metre (subject to consideration of utilities and site constraints). This is a little less than the cost per square metre given by the quantity surveyor for the S&B design, at £2.3k, but the Homelodge quote did not factor in full project costs. In December 2017 the Homelodge website noted that they were unable to supply to Scotland and, when contacted, their representative expressed concern about the “logistics of providing a turn-key supply and service so far away”. As the building control process in Scotland is different from that in England we need to exercise caution about working with a company with little experience of working here. 

3) Fleming Homes’ response, when given S&B drawings, was to quote for just one element – the ‘superstructure components’. Their figure of £52,400 for a timber kit was viewed by the quantity surveyor as far higher than his own estimate for this element. (Any contractor would be required to bid for and deliver all works, including project management - something the committee believes would be best done by an experienced building contractor.) It should be noted that once planning approval has been received there will be a tender process for the build by invitation. The committee has no objection to inviting Fleming Homes and/or Fjordhus to tender at this later stage in the process, in relation to the Simpson & Brown design. 

In summary, these thorough investigations found that the various buildings cited in the leaflet are not suitable. They do not offer the quality and sustainability of the proposed design - there is inevitably an element of ‘getting what you pay for’ and on a cost per square metre basis, the alternative options have not proved to be significantly cheaper. 

Very importantly, at this pre-planning stage there are concerns that the style and finish of buildings shown on the leaflet would be unlikely to achieve planning permission for any site within the Conservation Village Area of Oldhamstocks. 

Other design issues
We have also heard questions raised about car parking and/or a road across the Green. East Lothian Council (ELC) planners have indicated that current parking arrangements are satisfactory. 

Size of the New Hall
Recent events held at the hall, including coffee mornings and the recent ‘Curryoke’ and 'Oldhamrocks' nights have been oversubscribed. It is clear that the main hall is not large enough to accommodate demand for larger community and fundraising events such as dinners and dancing. Nor does it allow for safe access and comfortable circulation at any event with stalls such as a coffee morning. Therefore, our proposed design incorporates a main hall that is 13m x 7m seating capacity 57 (compared to the current 12.5m x 5.5m seating capacity 42). The size and design introduces the flexibility of being able to open or close a partition between the main hall and a smaller room (4.7m x 4.5m) seating capacity 70.

Cost of the New Hall
We are all committed to ensuring that spend on the new hall is appropriate and is balanced against need, function, quality, energy efficiency and sustainability. We are clear that we want to make the best use of windfarm benefits funds – which are available for us to use in our local community, for the benefit of our residents. Our first community consultation confirmed that the majority of people wanted to see the available funds spent on a new hall as an investment in the future of our community. 

In response to concerns and questions about costs, we are clear that we need to plan costs for both the initial build of the hall, and for its on-going maintenance and running costs. The design will have solar tiles, double glazing, an air-source heat pump and excellent insulation so it will provide a comfortable and energy efficient environment. We hope to provide a factual statement about the likely running costs later in 2018. We can of course only confirm a figure for final build costs when we proceed to tender for the build. 

We can only proceed to tender once planning consent has been given and all matters of regulations, building control approval and Conservation Area consent have been confirmed. We can reassure the community that we will not sign any contracts or make any financial commitments until costs have been fully calculated, We have worked very closely with the architects and quantity surveyors to revise the design and specifications to bring down costs wherever possible. These negotiations and adjustments have led to a reduction in the estimated cost of the build from £764k to nearer £577k. 

1) submit a formal planning application – ELC planners have indicated in a pre-planning meeting that they are favourably supportive of the Simpson & Brown proposal on a range of criteria, commenting positively on the use of traditional materials and the visual design of the hall;
2) purchase the land - the Dunglass Estate has indicated that the land the current hall sits on, and adjacent land for building a new hall, can be purchased, at a very reasonable price, for this community use, with a proposed entry date of November 2019 - the end of the current lease. This means the earliest date we can begin construction is the end of 2019;
3) secure funding for both the build and ongoing costs of the hall - the community benefits from local wind farm developments will give us a very good start in raising the money we need. Other local villages have drawn down funds for their own halls, using the current windfall to set them ready for the next 70 - 100 years. 


What the community want... 2017

In October 2017 another survey was carried out in the community and the majority stated that they were happy with the plan proposed by the OCA and amended as outlined below following community consultation. An "alternative plan" was also tabled to the community by another group and at AGM 2017 the OCA agreed to look at the proposals in the "alternative plan." 


Consultation Results

Following discussion of the findings of the March 2017 consultation with the appointed design team, OCA made the decision to develop the initial hall design further in order to take on board comments from the local community. While it is accepted that not all suggestions could be taken on board, the following design changes were made: 

  • Roofing material changed from slate to tile. 
  • The west end of the building features a new gable that is clad in timber. 
  • The building design was reduced in size by 21%, from 270 sqm to 212 sqm, without the need to compromise on the provision of new facilities. The main hall, meeting room and kitchen have reduced in size, and storage areas reconfigured to make better use of the roof space. 
  • A second accessible WC with shower facility has been included. 
  • The number of folding wall partitions has reduced. 
  • The large rooflight above the main hall space has been changed to a series of smaller conservation-style rooflights. 
  • The external door to the east of the building has been omitted in order to reduce the amount of landscaping needed. 
  • Solar tiles have been added to the roof to make the building more sustainable. The extent of the landscaping works has reduced now that there is a better idea of community aspirations for the use of the land surrounding the building: 
  • Allotments are no longer included in the design as they were not deemed necessary. 
  • The position of the relocated playpark has moved closer to the village green. 
  • The land behind the hall will be laid to grass and there will be less paving. 
  • The east and west boundaries of the site will be lined with evergreen hedging, as discussed with direct neighbours either side of the hall.   


Consultation Exhibition - 2017

Following development of the initial design brief with the appointed architects, an exhibition was mounted in the current village hall which was available to everyone in the community and surrounding area, this fulfilled the undertaking to present a Final Option Paper from AGM 2015 with a newbuild design and addressed refurbishment and "do nothing" options. The exhibition was advertised on the Oldhamstocks community website, by mailshot through doors and via word of mouth, and was held between the 20th and 31st March 2017. All were welcome to attend to express their views. For those who were unable to visit the existing building due to access restrictions, printed copies of the material was made available for distribution. The exhibition was well attended and there was good representation from the village and all surrounding areas. The results and comments were collated and the changes to plans as outlined above were instigated. 


Ask The Experts... 2016

In 2016 we carried out a process to choose the architects who could take the project forward. A number of architects firms were contacted and some noted an interest in the project. Interviews were carried out and Simpson and Brown Architects came out on top and set about creating a first draft plan of the new hall based on criteria compiled by us informed by the community and its needs.


AGM 2015

In November 2015 the first part of the AGM was a public meeting again chaired by Cllr. Veitch. The previously mentioned sub-group had decided that their remit required the work to be expanded to the existing committee and reports based on the Structural Report and the future funding possibilities were presented. Cllr. Veitch concluded that a Final Option Paper should be presented to the community including a design for a newbuild hall, plans for refurbishment (although the Structural Report had conclusively ruled this option out) and also a "do nothing" option. There was a vote via show of hands on the question:-  “Does the local community agree that we should work towards producing designs for replacing the Hall?” which was a clear yes. There were also guest speakers from Stenton and Spott who shared their experiences of renovating their village halls. There was then a table top discussions which produced the following results:-

Table Discussions:

Table 1:

  • Main Hall as now (no need for a separate room)
  • Same footprint, and include store and shed
  • East end of hall – extend by approx 2 metres towards fence for redesign of toilet area incl disabled WC
  • Level access throughout
  • Wall to be retained in front of hall
  • North side could be extended by 0.5 metre for a pathway, if part of field is required on north side for building
  • Improved kitchen (same size as now)
  • Improved toilets incl disabled WC (Ladies/Disabled and Gents)
  • Portable stage
  • No showers necessary!
  • If it is a newbuild it should be as similar as possible to existing building: like for like
  • Shelving etc for e.g. audio equipment for dancing etc.

Table 2:

  • Public area bigger than what we have
  • Improved storage and facilities (toilets, kitchen) and disabled access
  • New, bigger kitchen
  • Parking for disabled

Table 3:

  • Slightly larger main hall space – possible to go 25% bigger on existing footprint size?
  • Separate smaller meeting room
  • Storage space to ensure no external sheds are required
  • Level access throughout
  • Improved kitchen and toilet provision, incl full disabled WC
  • Shower(s) – for fell race? And could be used as storage if wet room
  • Excellent energy efficiency – a top priority
  • Much improved ease of maintenance – a top priority
  • At least one disabled parking space (check regs!); how will cars access that space – may need to reinforce access across the Green?

Table 4:

  • Build something wider and larger that can be partitioned off as required, a hall that can accommodate each person who lives in the parish
  • Not looking for something like Co'path Hall which is too big, too high
  • Incorporate shed area into the footprint of the hall
  • Level access throughout
  • Improved kitchen and toilet provision, incl full disabled WC
  • One person said yes to shower; rest at this table (9?) said no
  • Air conditioning. As eco-friendly as possible. Something like a biomass boiler as a starting point for a biomass boiler for the community
  • Very low maintenance
  • An opening directly onto the Green
  • Broadband as fast as possible

Table 5:

  • Slightly larger main hall space to accommodate dances, village gatherings etc. Stone/timber frontage in keeping with the village, consider options already mentioned e.g. change position of entrance door. Be open-minded and realistic about what we as a Community can achieve
  • Separate smaller meeting room or screened off area
  • Storage space to ensure no external sheds are required – keeps everything under one roof and avoids additional maintenance
  • Level access throughout
  • Ergonomically improved kitchen and toilet provision incl full disabled WC
  • Showers – if possible but thought a bit of a luxury
  • Sustainable and energy efficient
  • Low maintenance and eco-friendly where possible
  • Access and egress – take into account the Disability Discrimination Act


Taking the Decision... 2015

An architect was enlisted to provide a structural report which indicated that the cost of refurbishing the existing hall would be more expensive than buiding a new up-to-date hall with enhanced facilities and capacity.


Public Meeting - 2015

On 11th June 2015 a well attended public meeting was held to discuss the future of the hall using the previous survey and chaired by local Councillor Michael Veitch. Following on from this meeting a sub-group was formed with the remit "To gather evidence and present findings on the best way forward for a meeting place for residents of Oldhamstocks Parish."


Oldhamstocks 10th Anniversary Cancer Fundraiser - 2015

The first half of 2015 was taken up with organising the above to assist the main organisers Dr Gillie Baird and Sheila Ainslie with proceeds divided between Macmillan, Maggie's Centre Edinburgh and St Columba’s Hospice. There were craft stalls, a horticulture stall, prize raffle, a charity auction, home-baking stall, dog show, tombola, children's story teller, face painting, live music in the Church, teas in the Hall and satellite events such as torchlight procession, a bridge evening and a pamper night. A lot of money was raised for some great charities. But there was still time to try to progress the purchase of a larger piece of land and continue with informal consultation. In discussion with the landowner it transpired that the lease on the field expires in December 2019 so no purchse or building work can occur until after this date.     


Fundraising - 2014

As well as bridge building, the emphasis in 2014 was to raise funds for the repairs required on the hall, the OCA planned:- Pub Nights; a Quiz Night; a BBQ/Picnic/Walk and Cycle, a Craft Bee and a Ceilidh on St Andrew’s night. There was also some less formal consultation with the community about the future hall. 


A little OCA side project... 2014

In 2014 the OCA undertook to rebuild the footbridge at the bottom of the Mill Walk which had been swept away in 2010. We were greatly assisted by Torness Power Station's "Helping Hands" Project, Lafarge Cement, East Lothian Council and East Lammermuir Community Council. With the expertise on hand a detailed plan of the steel structure was created and built locally by A Watt & Sons Steel Fabricators Ltd. Once manoeuvred into place it was concreted in and the wooden parts and landscaping were finished by John Hanvidge, Gordon Simpson, Davie Philip, Steve Findlay, Liam Harvey and Peter Lennon. Hopefully it will last for about 30 years! The New Village Hall project will require a similar amount of knowledge, good will and funding from a number of sources - if it is going to be successful.


Research Phase... 2013

Having received a mandate from the community to progress with a new hall project the OCA put a lot of time into researching other village hall projects, developing options for funding the project, speaking to architects, exploring the possibility of buying adjacent land to extend the footprint of the existing hall and examining what kind of body would be best to own and maintain the new hall and its environs. The OCA was simultaneously doing major repairs to the hall and creating additional funding events to cover the costs such as a casino and pub night. 


Community Survey – Oldhamstocks - 2012

Following a survey which returned the following suggested uses of community funding (people could choose more than one option), the local community was also asked what uses the village hall could be put to.

Survey Results

  • Replace the Village Hall.......................................................................61%
  • Upgrade the Village Hall......................................................................38%                     
  • Upgrade or create footpaths...............................................................26%
  • Community vehicle...............................................................................12%
  • Computer hub.........................................................................................9%

Suggested usage of the village hall from members of the community:-

  • Flower show
  • Meeting space
  • Exercise/ fitness classes
  • Sports facility
  • Dance classes
  • Cub/ Scout camp facility
  • Drop-in centre
  • Children’s parties
  • Community computer venue
  • Community events – Burns supper, pub night, quiz night
  • Private functions – parties, dinner
  • Presentations
  • Genealogical resource and exhibition venue
  • Craft based workshops with invited tutors
  • Music rehearsal
  • Tuition for older citizens
  • Community shop
  • Community cafe
  • Local surgery
  • Polling Station
  • Emergency rest centre
  • Church events
  • Live music events
  • Disco
  • Funeral receptions
  • Wedding receptions
  • Public meetings
  • Community cinema
  • Local lending library – books/ DVDs/ CDs
  • Bothy for walkers, etc

Which road to take... 2012

In 2012 the OCA decided that the constant maintenance of the fabric of the hall had reached a critical stage. They invited an architect to inspect the building and give some options for refurbishing. He verbally gave the opinion that refurbishment would not be cost effective and that the best option would be a complete rebuild. Therefore a public survey was carried out within the parish to ascertain what the community felt about a way forward. The results are shown above. 


Community Facilities in Rural Scotland: A Study of Their Use, Provision and Condition 2009

Rural community facilities (RCFs) are local assets which serve as central points or "hubs", and as venues for service provision, from within and outwith the community, sometimes providing for the co-location of multiple services. In June 2007, as part of its Halls for All campaign, the SCVO lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament, which called for greater central government support for village halls and other community buildings and for comprehensive research to establish a baseline of information about village halls in Scotland that will inform the debate on the best ways of supporting them.

This research was a core element of the Scottish Government response to the petition, reflecting the recognition that there was a lack of good understanding of the provision, condition and usage of community facilities and their importance in rural areas. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link above.


History of the Hall

As far back as the late 1970's there were problems maintaining the hall roof and windows. In 1996 the Committee applied for national funding to rebuild the hall stating " The present hall is of a wooden construction and was purchased second hand from the MOD Circa 1952 and is now somewhat worse for wear. In spite of our efforts to maintain it, we feel the battle is lost." Unfortunately there is no record of what happened to the funding application but funding was secured for some running repairs. Special funding was available at the Millenium but the committee decided not to apply. Subsequent Committees have faced an uphill struggle to keep the hall usable. 

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