Stowey Centre Project
What is the Stowey Centre Project
The current Nether Stowey Village Hall is 100 years old, built-in 1922; sadly, it is starting to show its age as it approaches its centenary year. Repair costs are increasing year on year, but the income generated by the hall decreases year on year. This is an untenable situation as there is a real risk that if a new village hall is not built, Nether Stowey could be left without a community centre which is unacceptable in the eyes of the charity.
That is why the Nether Stowey Village Hall and Recreation Ground charity have been working on a project to relocate the village hall to the recreation ground over the last two years. The unofficial name for the relocation and rebuild is the Stowey Centre project.
The project will provide a modern village hall with a commercial standard kitchen and bar, a stage, a sizeable multipurpose function room, a meeting room and a car park – it will also provide changing rooms for recreational activities. With the outside becoming the new indoors through the Covid pandemic, the new centre will provide a serving hatch, external covered seating, public toilets, and large bi-folding doors and windows.
The car park will have allocated electric vehicle charging points, bike storage and safe pedestrian access to encouraging green transport use.
Planning Permission Application Submitted January 2022
After a challenging year due to the pandemic, a planning application Trustees have worked incredibly hard to submit a planning application to Sedgemoor District Council for a new village hall with changing rooms, a car park and appropriate vehicle and pedestrian access. The building is to be located in the North-West corner of the recreation ground backing onto the cemetery boundary and alongside the A39 with access off the old A39.
Full plans and supporting documents can be viewed on the Sedgemoor District Planning Portal.
March 2023 – Project Update
An ecology survey established that the site lies within a conservation area for rare species of bats.
Therefore significant delays have hit the project as specialist ecologists assess that the mitigating factors the project proposes, such as planting native trees and low-level lighting, will not negatively impact the bat population.
We have been reassured that Planning Permission will be granted (see SDC letter of support) once these assessments have been completed and we determine that the project will not have adverse impacts on the ecology of the area,
In the meantime, the project team have secured £50,000 of funding from the Sedgemoor District Council Rural Village Hall Capital fund, which will be used to perform preliminary work. Funding applications to the Football Foundation, National Lottery Community Foundation, HPC Community Mitigation Fund and various other grants are progressing – amounting to circa £1,000,000.
Grant providers ask for ‘match funding’ – this is like a deposit when asking the bank for a mortgage to buy a house. The project’s match funding will come from the sale of the old village hall. A revised outline planning application for four affordable homes will be submitted to Sedgemoor District Council to increase the value of the land.
A site plan, a block plan of the building and an elevation plan can be viewed below:
How does the charity know what the community wants and needs?
With the help of Smart Communities, the charity sent 1000 surveys to residents in and around Nether Stowey. Four hundred thirty responded. The survey results found that:
- A great majority of the respondents agree that Nether Stowey village and the surrounding communities need a high-quality Centre that combines sports, arts and recreational activities for use by the whole community.
- The most robust response comes to the importance of facilities in the new Centre with nearly all respondents expressing an opinion. A majority see a kitchen as an essential facility in the new Centre. A stage, café and changing rooms are also seen as necessary facilities by a large number and a slightly lesser extent a bar, meeting rooms, and shower facilities. Bike racks and a gym are both seen as a requirement by a large number.
If you wish to view the full report of the survey, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Preserving the past.
Many local families have held functions to mark life events at the hall, not to mention numerous pantomimes and musicals and countless community activities and fetes.
Local families, Trustee Jo Davison is archiving photos and artefacts to place in the new Centre, if you have any items, stories, or indeed photos you wish to share, please contact Jo at email@example.com
Do you have a skill that would be useful in further the project?
The trustees themselves will manage the Stowey Centre Project build to ensure that costs are kept to a minimum, ensuring it affordable and achievable.
Therefore, if you have skills associated with large building projects that you feel would benefit the charity, we would love to hear from you! Contact Simon Freeman, our Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Funding the project
The charity has been awarded a grant from the HPC Small Grants programme to fund new branding and a website and a grant from the Fairfield Trust to go towards planning permission costs.
To provide match funding for the project, the present Village Hall will be sold on the open market once planning permission has been granted on the new Centre. The value of the village hall represents approximately 35% of the build cost of the new Centre.
Grants will be applied for from various providers such as HPC Open Grants Programme, Football Foundation and Viridor Credits, to name but a few. These will provide most of the shortfall.
The community will be asked to raise £50,000 by attending various events planned by the charity. Ideas and volunteers are always welcomed – please contact Jo Davison email@example.com
DO you wish to back the Stowey Centre Project but don’t have the time to volunteer?
Well, you can play the Nether Stowey Recreation Ground PFR Club Lottery.
This is a 50-50 Lottery, with 50% of the money raised going to the Centre Project and the remaining 50% in prize monies.
There are four prizes:
- The first prize is 50%
- The second prize 25%
- The third prize 15%
- The fourth prize 10%.
There are ten monthly draws and a SUPERDRAW twice a year.
Centre Project Committee
The long term plan for the village hall and recreation ground is being handled by an expert group of volunteers.