Plans officially submitted to transform Rectory Farm community centre using compensation payout

Rectory Farm Community Centre is on track for a £250,000 renovation project.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 8:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 9:01 am
Rectory Farm Community Centre could be set for a 250,000 renovation.
Rectory Farm Community Centre could be set for a 250,000 renovation.

The facelift will include a new kitchen, a second 86-square-metre hall and new toilet facilities, if plans are approved by the Guildhall.

The quarter-of-a-million-pound renovation will be funded in part by a £100,000 compensation payout by Hawthorn Leisure to the council over the conversion of the Barn Owl pub into a supermarket in 2017, and the remaining £150,000 has now been approved by borough council cabinet.

In 2017, the borough council was paid an out-of-court settlement by Hawthorn Leisure to be released from a 'community covenant' when they applied to convert the Barn Owl pub into a Co-op supermarket.

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Architect drawings by Stimpson Walton Bond show the proposed hall extension.

The money was earmarked to be put back into Rectory Farm, and will now be used entirely to renovate the community centre, if the development is approved by the planning committee.

Architects Stimpson Walton Bond said in a planning document submitted to the Guildhall that the single hall, as it stands, cannot meet demands for different community uses.

Planning papers say: "The internal facilities are in need of up-grading to improve safeguarding issues for the play school use. Currently there are no separate toilet facilities dedicated for the play school and the existing toilet facilities are totally unsuitable for young children.

"NBC and the Centre Management Team have identified a need for a second hall with dedicated toilet facilities that suitably address all the safeguarding issues.

"In addition, there is also an ongoing security issue relating to the rear courtyard during everyday use and when it is not occupied."

'The Barn', as referred to by residents, is currently used by different clubs and societies as a function room, meeting room, play school and also a polling station.

Councillor James Hill (Con, Rectory Farm) said any groups interested in using the community space upon completion should contact him or Toby Birch, acting chairman of Rectory Farm Residents Association.

New proposals show the provision of a 'subsidiary hall', new kitchen and separate toilet facilities for adult and play school use as well as a remodelled courtyard to accommodate the new hall extension and the existing covered play area will be relocated.

New secure fencing will be fitted above the brick boundary walls to help safeguard the courtyard from unauthorised access and vandalism.