Energy-efficient community hub proposals submitted

This is what Wereham's new community hub could look like, front perspective. Submitted

This is what Wereham's new community hub could look like, front perspective. Submitted - Credit: Archant

A state-of-the-art village hub has been designed to meet the most energy-efficient standards and could be used as a model for other community buildings in the future.

A group in Wereham, near Downham Market, was awarded more than £28,000 by the Big Lottery Fund towards a project to build a new village hall and to develop the existing site.

And the Wereham Village Hall Management Committee has now submitted a planning application to West Norfolk Council for a community hub designed to meet the Passivhaus standard – which is the highest standard for energy efficiency.

The current wooden village hall in Church Road, Wereham is a YMCA hut from the First World War which has severe restrictions on its use due to its age and fragility.

Committee chairman Victoria Gray said her team had spent three years talking to residents in Wereham and surrounding villages via surveys, focus groups and public consultations to identify what they wanted.

She said: 'Using this evidence, working with current user groups and the lead volunteers who will deliver the new activities, the project team created a detailed design brief.

'Following the award of development funding by the Big Lottery Fund, Norfolk-based Parsons & Whittley architects have taken our design brief and have designed an exciting, exemplar community hub that is fit for all.

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'It will be the first English exemplar Passivhaus-designed community building, delivering a facility with greatly reduced running costs.'

Passivhaus designer Chris Parsons said: 'The new hub is a 385 sq m, timber clad building within a conservation area and the sensitive design received favourable responses both at public consultation and in pre-application discussions with the planners.'

The committee expects to secure planning permission for the hub in advance of its final stage three bid to the Big Lottery Fund at the end of April.

The new building will have a capacity of about 200 people and will provide opportunities for older people to socialise and for other adults to learn new skills.

There will be a heritage group, varied physical activities for all ages and abilities, a youth group, a craft group, and a village cinema.

To find out more about Wereham village hall and to follow its progress, go to www.facebook.com/werehamvillagehall or their website www.werehamvillagehall.co.uk

Is your community project applying for funding? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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