Hett Village Hall Future

The Trustees [T] and General Management Committee [GMC] of Hett Village Hall Association (HVHA) are committed  to consulting and informing all members  about developments with respect to  Hett Village Hall Future [ HVHF ] , and to be inclusive for all in how this is done 

This dedicated page has been set up on this website so that considerations arising can be posted as they occur, most recent first, with any explanatory attachments being uploaded and available through tabs at the foot of this page, and so this website is always going to be the most immediate source of information

For those for whom the internet and email are not the preferred ways of communication, the same information will also be printed in the village newsletter - "Hett Happenings" - but , for practical purposes, the Newsletter, a paper copy of which is delivered to every household in the village,  is now a quarterly publication , so there may be interim  HVHF bulletins delivered as well, depending on what is happening

With everything it does, HVHA always looks for  reasonable and proportionate ways of getting information out, and to getting feedback, so ,for example, there is now a dedicated email address for feedback on HVHF

hettvillagehallfuture@gmail.com

Feedback is also welcome by letter to :-

The HVHA Secretary, Brian Ogden, at 6, The Green, Hett. DH6 5LX

All Feedback, however received, will be openly and publicly discussed across the table at subsequent meetings where HVHF is on the Agenda



Mike Simpson
Editor

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HVHF: The Future of Hett Village Hall – Update  22 August 2017

 

The HVHA Trustees and General Management Committee committed to updating members and informing/consulting when appropriate on developments regarding the future of the Hall and its replacement. This paper seeks to update you following recent developments.

The background is sufficiently well known. The present hall is a 2nd hand, ex-army Nissen Hut coming to Hett for use in 1961. It is a hooped, metal framed building with metal cladding sheets and no foundations simply sitting on an earth base. After at least 60 years and designed as only a temporary structure for the army its structure and cladding are now deteriorating quite badly. Recently, we have had the Hall repainted as a sticking plaster job to hold it together for a little longer.

In 2012 HVHA began to investigate an anomaly regarding the ownership of the land upon which the Hall stands. The 1956 Deed of Conveyance has a map showing its location on the car park and, surprisingly, not where it actually stands. To rectify that anomaly and prepare for a possible replacement building HVHA set about acquiring the “right bit” of land + a little more. That process became protracted, costly and difficult throughout 2013-14 but was resolved in 2015 so that HVHA now owns the hall + car park and an extension to the S and W measuring in total 60m [E-W] x 20m [N-S].

In December 2015 HVHA organised a village survey to try to discover what people wanted regarding a replacement.  A very good response 49.5% was obtained with 80% in favour of a new building. Overwhelmingly, respondents also wanted a larger building to accommodate storage, a larger kitchen and bar area, a separate meeting room, porch and entrance hall and the elimination of damp and better heating.

Following consultation with users and members a motion was passed to ask the Trustees to seek the necessary permissions and funds to replace the hall. Accordingly, in January 2017 a meeting was held in the hall with DCC Planning, Conservation and Building Control Officers to discuss a potential way forward and the kind of thing they would be looking for in a new building in our Conservation Area.  For the planners this was a building with some character, single storied and preferably made of brick. For Building Control it was stipulated that we needed to have a Geotechnical Site Investigation to determine whether there were any obstacles to building on the site as a whole.

In association with Dunelm Geotechnical, Meadowfield, such a survey has now been undertaken in three parts including onsite drilling with a full Report produced [available on the HVHA website at hettvillagehall.co.uk – highly technical!]. The results are encouraging. We are not sitting on a potential imminent collapse site so the present hall can continue and there are fewer obstacles to foundations and drainage than initially appeared to be the case. That means full grouting is not required.

Dunelm’s Report has been submitted to DCC Building Control who replied on the 18th August that their engineer finds the Report satisfactory. That means we have reached a significant stage and can properly ask the question where to next?

The General Management Committee held its August meeting on Monday, 21st August. In the light of the DCC Building Control approval the Vice-Chair advised that a critical path analysis should be developed to produce an outline specification that could be submitted to an architect for a plan to be drawn up which could then be costed. He could produce outline costs of a building using different materials with brick [preferred by DCC Planners] likely to be the highest cost option. Render, and wooden cladding as in the original application, should be options to put forward. These should then be submitted to DCC Planners to gauge what materials would be acceptable and how a building with character and a little quirkiness could look.


    It was restated that the interior design would follow the outcomes of the 2016 survey i.e. bigger than the present building to accommodate storage, larger kitchen and bar area, separate meeting room, entrance hall and porch. It would extend to the S and W within the confines of the land HVHA now owns. It should be practical, cheaper to run, and consider eco/conservation/energy efficiency measures as did the previous plan of 2008.

 

    Members understood that design needed to come before money though this was a “chicken and egg” situation and the ability to raise the finance would determine whether anything actually happens or not.

 

   The meeting reiterated that the present building would continue in use for as long as possible either until new build could begin or until it no longer became usable or unsafe.


    Discussion moved on to include points for future finance applications e.g. unique selling points: the only facility left, self-financing, Hallmark, wider usage now than just the village.

 

The meeting agreed that the Secretary produce an HVHF Update incorporating these points, [this paper] circulate committee members for initial comment, then print & arrange distribution to as wide an audience as practical. This Update would invite people to a consultative meeting to discuss matters to be held on Wednesday, 4th October at 19.30 in the Hall by which time it is hoped that we would have received a response from DCC Planners.

 

Accordingly, you are invited to that meeting to be held on Wednesday, 4th October at 19.30hrs in the Hall to discuss the situation as it then stands and how to take matters forward. We look forward to having you with us.

 

B.P.Ogden

Secretary, HVHA

August 2017.

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HVHF Bulletin July 2017 [1] 

[extracted from GMC Minutes 110717]

HVHF: Site Investigation: The Report from Dunelm Geotechnical had been received. Whilst being highly technical it concludes that there are no major difficulties in putting a new building on the site although there are many recommendations to follow.

This means that a cheaper option than full grouting may be possible.

On the advice of the Vice-Chair supported by the Officers, the report has been sent to DCC Building Control for their comment since it was the Senior Building Control Officer who had required the survey to be undertaken

DCC has forwarded the Report to their Barnard Castle Office and we await their response.

The Vice-Chair advised that it might be the case that DCC would require a hole to be dug on site  [at HVHA expense ] to verify Dunelm’s findings in order to avoid possible future liability should anything go wrong

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HVHF Bulletin May 2017 [3] 

Painting the Village Hall

 

Painting work needed to protect the aesthetics and weather resistance of the Hall are scheduled to start on 15 May and are estimated to continue for 2 weeks or so

 

HVHA relies upon , and is entitled to rely upon, the Contractor  carrying  out this work with all due care, and HVHA will not be responsible for any breaches of the Contractor`s duty,  but , from a purely "neighbourly perspective”, feels it appropriate to mention to residents that we may all find it prudent not to park vehicles close by the Hall , nor indeed to walk nor play close by the Hall, whilst this work is ongoing,  lest prevailing conditions might cause   'paint spindrift or splatter"


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HVHF Bulletin May 2017 [2]

Dunelm have been able to re-schedule the Geotechnical Survey so this is now being brought forward to Wednesday 10 May
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HVHF Bulletin May 2017 [1]

Further to the bulletins below and further to the update the Secretary provided to the AGM last night    [ 03 May] ..............

This morning [ 04 May ]  the Vice Chair and Secretary met on site with one of the Dunelm engineers to consider access to the site and their requirements for the Geotechnical Survey [ see Bulletin April 2017 [1] below]. 


The issue is not as great as might have been the case. There will be one machine  approximately 3 metres wide but requiring approximately 4 metres height extension. It will drill/sample up to six holes -  1 or 2 at the front of the hall, 2 at the back and one in the trees beside the hut. No trees need to be felled at this stage but branches and undergrowth will need to be removed to allow the machine to get in and be able to raise its drill head. The samples will be taken away for analysis to produce a report which will give us recommendations regarding the type of building possible and the foundations which would be required. That report will determine what HVHA may be able to do,  although it is the cost of any Stage 3 work which will be the ultimate decider.

 

The work will take one day only on Monday, 15th May.  The Vice-Chair will organise the branch and undergrowth removal beforehand. Repainting the hall to secure its waterproofedness will commence the same day without problem. Dunelm will require access to water, toilets for their men and the car park to accommodate their machinery and transport.


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HVHF Bulletin April 2017 [1] 

We now have the Desktop  Survey [DS] , referred to as a "Desktop Search" at point [i]  of the Bulletin March 2017 [1] below.

You can read that survey by using the tab at the foot of this page 

The next step is the Geotechnical Survey [GS] explained in the DS and we are getting costings for that GS and of course also  looking at the possibility for funding that GS

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HVHF Bulletin March 2017  [1] 

Below is an extract from the Minutes of the GMC  270217


HVHF: [Hett Village Hall Future]. 

The Chair introduced the subject with an update following the outcome of the Trustee meeting, 09/02/17,  and the distribution of a Notice indicating to HVHA members “where we are at” as promised at appropriate stages. Only one comment had been received following the invitation to HVHA members to be in touch prior to this GMC meeting. This was a considered response and whilst expressing some concerns not least about the costs of whatever may be involved it thanked GMC members for the time & effort they were putting in. The Chair pointed out that the idea of seeking grants, as mentioned in the comment, for maintenance of the existing structure would be highly unlikely in his experience to succeed since funders would have no certainty as to what the outcomes may be or to commitments required in the future.

There followed a full discussion of realities, possibilities and how to take matters forward since it was agreed we could not remain where we were and do nothing. Members understood that the Senior Building Control officer requires a site investigation survey without which no permissions w/could be granted. Members were also reminded that the Coal Authority had conducted a two year research project revealing uncharted mine workings adjacent to the Hall which probably meant the Hall site was also subject to similar discoveries. JLG went on to give a detailed exposition of what could be involved in a site investigation so that it was also understood by members that any such survey may:

    i] proceed no further beyond a desktop search if geological conditions were so adverse;

    ii] proceed to start a full site investigation requiring drilling and excavation in sections across the profile of the land which the new building would occupy + leeway depending on findings.  [JLG to advise/seek permission of Parish Council to extend the survey beyond the land which HVHA already owns in the interest of obtaining a more complete result];

   iii] find that what is discovered early on meant no further progress was possible;

   iv] proceed to completion with a full survey report and recommendations;

   v]  then send those recommendations to the Planning and Building Control Depts. who would decide on appropriate action.

 Members were advised that action could lead to permission to proceed [likely to be under certain conditions] which would allow HVHA to make a planning application or could conclude that occupation of the site was not within control requirements meaning the current building would need to be demolished.

The Chair pointed out that whilst the latter scenario was unpalatable it did mean that on the grounds of care for users and the distinct possibility of negligence by the Trustees the option to do nothing and not proceed was simply out of the question.

Bearing all this in mind and accepting the significant cost implications but without a viable alternative the GMC agreed that:

      1. HVHA will proceed towards a site investigation;

      2. the Chair will investigate grants that might be possible for a feasibility study/site investigation to offset costs.

      3. the Secretary will seek quotations from Civil Engineering companies for the work  [3 suggested] .

The preliminary work before commissioning the site investigation as set out above will inevitably take time so that it is unlikely that any engineering work on site would commence before the autumn  of 2017.


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The Future of the Village Hall –  Bulletin February 2017  [1]

As you may recall the Trustees and General Management Committee of Hett Village Hall Association (HVHA) wish to consult and inform all members about developments with respect to the village hall. What follows is to let you know where we are up to at present.
   
On Thursday, 3rd February, the Trustees and Officers of HVHA held a meeting in the Hall with the Senior Planning, Building Control and Conservation Officers of Durham County Council (DCC). The purpose of the meeting was to establish an understanding as to what might be possible regarding a new village hall building.

In that meeting we were told that before any progress could be made with an application for planning or building regulations permission, which we understand we need to have before we can apply for grants, we need to have a site investigation to determine the state of the ground beneath the hall. This will also identify any necessary actions that would be required from a building regulations perspective , for example,  foundations,  which don`t presently exist  [ part of the problem with the present building] and the possibility of  a concrete base or raft.

This site investigation will involve drilling around the south side of the hall and for that work to start we need to remove at least some, or possibly all, of the trees to the south of the building .

We were also told that, depending on the outcome of the site investigation, the land may need to be left to settle for around 2 years before new building work could start. We have also consulted the present DCC Tree Officer who has accepted the Building Control requirements.

If we are to go ahead then we need to consider the optimum time for removal of the trees.  Clearly we do not want to rush any action without taking time to ensure members are aware of the advice from DCC. We also need to have in mind that permission to remove the trees may be conditional on that being done sooner than later in the year, eg before the trees go into leaf and/or nesting starts.

Meanwhile the present hall deteriorates and this means that the funds we have built up, and may raise from future events, are diverted into attempts to patch up the existing structure.

HVHA welcomes feedback from all residents on the implementation of advice it receives from the planners, building control, the Tree Officer and all professionals which will be part of the process going forward.

For this purpose, we have set up a dedicated email account:hettvillagehallfuture@gmail.com


Alternatively, for neighbours choosing not to use email, feedback is welcome by letter to :-The HVHA Secretary, Brian Ogden at 6, The Green, Hett. DH6 5LX.

The Village Hall Future will be an agenda item at the General Management Committee meeting on Monday, 27th February at 19.30 in the Hall so feedback by 23 February would be  much appreciated.

Thank you.

Brian Ogden

Secretary 

HVHA

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Mike Simpson,
9 Apr 2017, 01:12
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