News

News

Development Consultation - Thanks for all your feedback

December 7, 2023

Development Consultation Feedback

Dear Westcott residents

 We would like to thank you for all your time and feedback on the development consultancy.

Just over 200 people attended the consultation event and we received in excess of 250 completed questionnaires.

 

Our advisers have commented that they cannot recall a consultation with such strong participation and positive contribution. Thank you for your part in this.

 

The overwhelming message is that 95% were in favour of re-providing a community building which provides broad support for this project. We do have clarity from this consultation on the overall preferences but it would be inappropriate for us to confirm these, or commit further expense, until we have had the opportunity to test these in a pre-application meeting with Mole Valley Council. This meeting is now being arranged.

 

Aside from more specific neighbour comments, key comments which we have noted as a priority for our on-going work include:-

 

1.    Furlong Road - managing the potential loss of some on street parking on Furlong Road and addressing congestion concerns

2.    Size of the community building - to be no smaller than the existing hall and preferably larger, to consider an upper level and to maximise parking

3.    Meeting housing needs and, in particular, smaller houses are preferred 

4.    Sustainability- to ensure that the new community building is adaptable, robust, low maintenance, has modern eco credentials and provides a lasting positive impact for the community

5.    Business Plan - reassurance that the trustees can present a business plan which supports the on-going operation of the hall going forward

 

We will provide further updates to you by email and via the usual village news channels as we move the project towards a planning application in 2024.

 

Further comments are welcome to info@westcottvillagehall.com And if you believe that you have a specific skill or contribution you would like to offer to the trustees, we would be delighted to hear from you!

 

For reference, here is the link to the display boards and general info on the proposals:-

With kind regards.

  

Westcott Village Hall Trustees

News

Westcott Village Hall Public Consultation - Held on 1st November 2023

December 5, 2023

Thank you to the 200 people who made the time to attend our consultation events on 1st and 11th November 2023 and to the c.250 who submitted a survey.

We are very pleased with the level and quality of engagement.

Please keep an eye on all village news outlets for further updates

Developments

Development

Westcott Village Hall Development Plan : Update 4

June 15, 2023

Update 4 - Appointment of architects, a planning consultant and a valuer

At their meeting on 14 June the trustees of Westcott Village Hall Trust approved the appointment of architects, a planning consultant and a valuer.

This will enable an options feasibility exercise to be progressed on the Westcott Village Hall and former Hut sites.

The outcome of this exercise will inform a village consultation, to be held later in the year, on potential development options which could be taken forward for a planning application

Bernd Ratzke

On behalf of the Westcott Village Hall Development Group

15 June 2023

Development

Westcott Village Hall Development Plan : Update 3

April 6, 2023

Update 3 - Appointment of development project manager

I am pleased to be able to report that the trustees of Westcott Village Hall have decided to invite Stace LLP to take up the role of Project Manager and to provide cost consultancy services for the project to redevelop the sites in Institute Road and Furlong Road. The appointment follows a selection process from a group of several providers who tendered for these services and a recommendation by the Development Group that Stace be appointed, based on a combination of cost, experience/reputation and the fact that their lead professional for the project lives in Epsom.

Stace’s immediate task is to help the Development Group appoint architects and planning consultants to the project who will be producing and advising on such options for the two sites as may enable a new community building to be funded. In due course these will be

presented to the village for consultation. One other ‘process’ step that is being implemented immediately, and which may generate visible activity in the coming weeks, is that consultants will be undertaking some ecology surveys, i.e. checking for the presence of wildlife on the sites whose habitat may need to be safeguarded.

Bernd Ratzke

On behalf of the Westcott Village Hall Development Group

6 April 2023

Development

Westcott Village Hall Development Plan : Update 2

February 8, 2023

Update 2 - Project Manager Selection

In our January village magazine update we confirmed that we would be running a selection process for a professional Project Manager. We have met three suitable candidates and have written proposals in from all of them. We will be providing a recommendation to the trustees for them to make a decision and hope an appointment will be made during March.

More immediately, the Development Group recommended some pretty extensive vegetation clearance and trimming of the boundaries to tidy up the former Hut and bowling green site. A quote from David Ford Tree Care has been accepted by the trustees. Close neighbours should expect a day with the sound of machinery on Wednesday, 1st March, but we hope the end result will provide a more satisfactory outlook for all near neighbours. Out of neighbourly courtesy and to prevent further deterioration, the trustees have also agreed to carry out some minor repairs to the left-hand side of the wall separating Westcott Village Hall from Institute Road.

Bernd Ratzke

On behalf of the Westcott Village Hall Development Group

8 February 2023

Development

Westcott Village Hall Development Plan

December 8, 2022

Proposed Plan Update

Those of you who were at the WVA Open Meeting on 7 December will already know that there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news (as some may think) is that I am back. The good news is that the plan to do something with The Hut and (what was) The Reading Room may now finally be making some progress.

Not much happened since the Charity Commission granted the ‘Cy-près’ scheme in May 2022 which consolidated the old charities into what has now rebranded as Westcott Village Hall. However, those trustees who were in office at the time of the merger did succeed in recruiting a number of additional volunteers as trustees to broaden the representation across the village. Irrespective of the intention to create a better village hall facility to replace the two existing structures, continuous renewal of the trustee group is a vital aspect of good governance for community assets. As a heads-up, you will see an invitation in the next magazine calling on those interested in becoming trustees to make themselves known in time for the next renewal cycle, due to take place in May. More details next month.

So where are we now? You may recall that James Leaver and I were heavily involved in the validation exercise which preceded the merger. That was designed to establish whether, in time and with a bit of luck, the numbers might add up to fund the construction of a new village hall. James is a chartered surveyor; I am a solicitor. Both of us have long experience in working on infra-structure projects for institutional and other clients, but neither of us are seasoned ‘Project Managers’, i.e. the person who actually runs the team of architects, planners, lawyers, quantity surveyors and transport advisers (to name but a few) who need to be hired and managed to lead a planning application process on which the village has been properly consulted.

The trustees have now decided that (i) to make progress, they really do have to appoint a Project Manager and that (ii) he or she can only be effective if working with a small sub- group of trustees, leaving the majority of trustees to concentrate on the daily running of Westcott Village Hall until and unless key decisions require all-trustees approval. In the light of that sensible conclusion, James and I have agreed to return to work pro-bono as part of a Development Group to which Dr Helen Everett and Sally Hewetson have been seconded as trustee representatives. Helen is a senior Government research scientist and Civil Servant well used to working with delegated reporting structures and Sally worked for many years for Mole Valley District Council’s property team as a principal surveyor. James and I will support the Project Manager and help Helen and Sally fulfil their reporting obligations to the full group of trustees, and to the village as the Charity Commission will require. Our first job as a Development Group will be to recommend a Project Manager for appointment by decision of all trustees.

I hope that in time the Project Manager will take over production of these updates.

Bernd Ratzke

On behalf of the Westcott Village Hall Development Group

8 December 2022