April 2009 report
In December 2008 we received the fantastic news that Beech had been awarded a grant by the Big Lottery fund towards the extension and refurbishment of the Village Hall. Combined with the funds already raised by the village, this meant that the project was fully funded, and work started pretty much immediately. As the year turned, however, a prolonged hoar frost, followed by the deepest snow the village has seen for 20 years, made construction work all but impossible. But the build is now back on track and has even made up some of the lost time.
By mid March the foundations of the new building had been completed and – with support from the village – the beam and block floor had been laid. After some discussion the decision was taken to invest in a vaulted ceiling for the new hall. The large timber trusses needed for this had to be ordered in specially, meaning that once the superstructure (otherwise known as walls!) was completed, everything ground to a halt again until the trusses arrived – on schedule – on 31 March. It was then all systems go again, and the new roof was expected to be completed by late April. Once the roof is in place, doors and windows can be fitted and the new Hall will really start to take shape.
One exciting development will be the arrival of a specially-commissioned oak framed porch for the new front door, which will open on to the Village Green, rather than into the car park as is now the case.
Meanwhile, progress has been made in a number of other important areas. The design and layout of the new kitchen – for some (along with the loos!) the most-longed for development – has been agreed, as has a detailed landscaping design for the area around the Hall. This will implemented in stages as work permits, so we won’t end up with a brand new hall surrounded by a sea of mud!
The project team’s intention is to keep the Village Hall open as much as possible during construction, with events shifting from the existing Hall to the new extension as the work progresses. There may, however, be short periods (for example, when the new doors and windows are being created) when it is simply not feasible to use the Hall; villagers will be informed of any diary changes via this website, the village newsletter and/or posters and flyers. To minimise disruption and avoid potential Health & Safety issues we may also have to decline some bookings for events depending on the situation at the time.
The project team has expressed its thanks to everyone in the village who has contributed in so many ways to help get this far; the members of the Village Hall Committee who are not members of that team would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of the village to thank the project team for their ongoing hard work!