Plans have been submitted to extend Ridgewood Village Hall by nearly 50%, providing a new kitchen, meeting room, table tennis room, and more space in the hall.
A planning application before Wealden Council also includes providing a new hardstanding to the side elevation facing the field and planting at the rear to accommodate concerns from neighbours.
The aim is to clad the whole building in timber weatherboarding “to improve the overall appearance”.
Documents with the planning application say: “At present the building is very uninspiring, with plain brickwork walls and low steel-clad roof.”
Built in the early 1980s
Ridgewood Village Hall Committee says the hall was built in the early 1980s when there was a population of about 2,600 people living in the area.
The current population is more than 3,680 and another 1,000 homes are to be built so the hall needs to be brought into the 21st century to provide all the facilities required for a part of town that has modernised and grown substantially since the hall was first built.
A diverse range of local groups use the hall, covering all ages. It is run as a registered charity and has a strong management committee of local people.
Strength to strength
The committee says: “The hall goes from strength to strength. We are producing our own newsletter, we have successful Christmas fairs, Easter Egg hunts, summer fairs, aftrnoon bingo, quiz nights, and, for the first time last year a very successful family friendly firework display.
“We are also just about to be assessed for our bronze hallmark award, a national award in recognition of the efficient running and community importance of the village hall.”
The committee would like the new kitchen to be able to serve refreshments to the new and improved recreation ground during the summer months and be accessible without disturbing hall users.
Hall is too short
The hall needs to be extended because it is too short for short mat bowls mats and there is a waiting list for dance students because the hall is too small.
Extra rooms are needed for a meeting room, table tennis, and a toddler group.
The floor needs replacing, the toilets are antiquated and the plumbing a frequent problem, and a disabled toilet needs to be brought inside the building. Storage is needed inside the building for hirer use. Fire doors need to be changed and changing facilities improved.
The committee also says that with high profile trouble seen in Ridgewood and surrounding areas security needs to be improved at the hall too.
The committee concludes: “The hall is dated and tired. It couild look more attractive with wooden cladding, bushes, trees and a terraced area, and could be fitting of the environment on which it stands and provide a community hub for another 50 years and beyond.”