Village Hall Timeline
This page is dedicated to keeping a timeline of the progress of building a new village hall.
History of the Village Hall: 1952 - 2013
Oldhamstocks Village Hall was a former wooden 'Nissen Hut' which was gifted to the village in 1952 and a Trust was set up to maintain it as a meeting place and continue to raise funds for its upkeep. As far back as the late 1970's there were problems maintaining the hall roof and windows. In 1996 the Committee applied for national funding to rebuild the hall stating " The present hall is of a wooden construction and was purchased second hand from the MOD Circa 1952 and is now somewhat worse for wear. In spite of our efforts to maintain it, we feel the battle is lost." Unfortunately there is no record of what happened to the funding application but funding was secured for some running repairs. Special funding was available at the Millenium but the committee decided not to apply. Subsequent Committees have faced an uphill struggle to keep the hall usable.
2013 - What to do?
The OCA (Jo Legge (Chair) - village, Janice Hanvidge (Secretary) - village, Gordon Simpson (Treasurer) - village, Keisha McCreath - Cocklaw, Andrea Davison - Cocklaw, Chris Bruce - village, Steve Findlay - village, Neil Reynolds - village, John Hanvidge - village, Angus Macdonald - village) decided that the constant maintenance of the fabric of the hall had reached a critical stage. They invited an architect to inspect the building and give some options for refurbishing. He verbally gave the opinion that refurbishment would not be cost effective and that the best option would be a complete rebuild.
Community Survey - Consultation 1
The OCA carried out a survey of all residents of the Parish, the results being collated by Angus Macdonald. Survey Results:
Replace the Village Hall.......61%
Upgrade the Village Hall......38%
Upgrade or create paths......26%
2014 - Research
Having received a mandate from the community to progress with a new hall project the OCA put a lot of time into researching similar village hall projects. Developing options for funding the project, speaking to architects and examining what kind of body would be best to own and maintain the new hall. The OCA was simultaneously doing major repairs to the hall as well as organising additional funding events.
A Community Project
In 2014 the community undertook to replace the footbridge at the bottom of the Mill Walk. It was assisted by Torness Power Station's "Helping Hands" Project, Lafarge Cement, East Lothian Council and East Lammermuir Community Council. The steel structure was built locally by A Watt & Sons Steel Fabricators Ltd. The wooden parts and landscaping were finished by John Hanvidge, Gordon Simpson, Davie Philip, Steve Findlay, Liam Harvey and Peter Lennon. Thanks to John Hanvidge who continues maintenance and to Steve Findlay who keeps the path beyond strimmed. Torness station director Paul Winkle said: “We are glad to have been involved with just a worthy cause - it is an excellent example of a hands-on local initiative and shows what can happen when a community pull together.”
At the Community Association AGM in November 2014 a new committee was formed to take forward the duties of the OCA. They were: Jacquie Riddell (Chair/Secretary), Gordon Simpson (Treasurer), Steve Findlay, John Hanvidge, Jo Legge, Chris Bruce, Andrea Davison, Angus MacDonald, Dave Legge.
2015 - Consultation 2
On 11th June 2015 a well attended public meeting was held to discuss the future of the hall chaired by local Councillor Michael Veitch using the previous survey and research results collected by the OCA. Cllr Veitch suggested that a sub-committee be formed to actively consider the next steps such as commissioning feasibility study or architectural report. The sub-committee should have an equal balance of existing and co-opted OCA members. It was agreed the following people would join the OCA hall development committee:
Donna Conroy, Marie-Florence MacDonald, Graeme Bairden, Elaine or John Ravenscroft (shared between them), Nathan Simpson, Douglas McCreath, Alex Ainslie.
AGM 2015 - Consultation 3
After the June meeting an architect was enlisted to provide a structural report. In summary the report indicated that the cost of refurbishing the existing hall would be more expensive than building a new up-to-date hall with enhanced facilities and capacity. In November 2015 the first part of the AGM was a public meeting again chaired by Cllr. Veitch. The previously mentioned sub-group had decided that their remit required the work to be expanded to the existing committee and reports based on the Structural Report and the future funding possibilities were presented. There were also guest speakers from Stenton and Spott who shared their experiences of renovating their village halls. There was then table top discussions.
At the Community Association AGM a new committee was formed to take forward the duties of the OCA. They were: Neil Richerby (Chair) - village, Barbara Richerby (Secretary) - village, Gordon Simpson (Treasurer) - village, Lizanne Longmuir - village, Donna Conroy - village, Kaleena Hanvidge - village, Mary Legge - village, Douglas McCreath - Cocklaw, Alex Ainslie - Thornton Holdings, Lauryn Simpson - village, Nathan Simpson - village, Angus Macdonald - village
Co-opted: Sharon Simspon - village, John Hanvidge - village, Jacquie Riddell -Thornton Holdings, Chris Bruce - village, Janice Hanvidge - village, David Legge - village
2016 - Expert assistance
The OCA carried out a selection process to choose the architects who could take the project forward. A number of architects firms were contacted and some noted an interest in the project. Presentstions and interviews were carried out and Simpson and Brown Architects came out on top. Simpson and Brown set about creating a first draft plan of the new hall based on criteria compiled by the OCA informed by the community and its needs. Simpson and Brown's fees and all associated report fees were funded by a grant from Crystal Rig Wind Farm via East Lammermuir Community Council
At the Community Association AGM in November 2016 a new committee was formed to take forward the duties of the OCA. They were: Neil Richerby (Chair) - village, Barbara Richerby (Secretary) - village, Gordon Simpson (Treasurer) - village, Janice Hanvidge - village, John Hanvidge - village, Sharon Simpson - village, Dougie McCreath - Cocklaw , Lorna Bairden - village, Nathan Simpson - village, Lauryn Simpson - village, Alison Mells - village and Lizanne Longmuir - village
Co-opted: Donna Conroy - village, David Legge - village, Jacquie Riddell - Thornton Holdings, Angus MacDonald - village, Mary Legge - village and Kaleena Hanvidge - village
2017 - Public Exhibition - Consultation 4
Following development of the initial design brief with the appointed architects, an exhibition was mounted in the current village hall which was available to everyone in the community and surrounding area. The exhibition was advertised on the Oldhamstocks community website, by mailshot through doors and via word of mouth, and was held between the 20th and 31st March 2017. All were welcome to attend to express their views. For those who were unable to visit the existing building due to access restrictions, printed copies of the material was made available for distribution. The exhibition was well attended and there was good representation from the village and all surrounding areas.The results and comments were collated and the changes to plans were instigated.
2017 - Community comments implimented
While it is accepted that not all suggestions could be taken on board, the following design changes were made:
- Roofing material changed from slate to tile.
- The west end of the building features a new gable that is clad in timber.
- The building design was reduced in size by 21%, from 270 sqm to 212 sqm.
- A second accessible WC with shower facility included.
- The number of folding wall partitions was reduced.
- The large rooflight above the main hall space was changed to a series of smaller conservation-style rooflights.
- Solar tiles were added to the roof to make the building more sustainable.
In October 2017 another survey was carried out in the community and the majority (64%) stated that they were happy with the plan proposed by the OCA and amended as outlined above following consultation 4.
At the AGM a new committee was formed to take forward the duties of the OCA. They were:
Neil Richerby (Chair) - village, Barbara Richerby (Secretary) - village, Gordon Simpson (Treasurer) - village, Janice Hanvidge - village, John Hanvidge - village, Alex Ainslie - Thornton Holdings, Nikki Edge - village, Andy Shanks - village, Sam Shanks - village, Elaine Baillie - village, Alison Mells - village, David Legge - village
Co-opted: Lauryn Simpson - village, Isla-May Edge - village, Chris Bruce - village, Sharon Simpson - village, Jacqui Riddell - Thornton Holdings, Nathan Simpson - village, Nathaneal Mells - village, Miriam Mells - village, Kaleena Hanvidge - village, Dougie McCreath - Cocklaw
At the AGM the amended Simpson and Brown hall plan was presented including a detailed breakdown of the results to the recent consultation and all comments that had been received were read out.
Newsletter - Consultation 7
Recent events including ‘Curryoke’ and 'Oldhamrocks' have been oversubscribed. It is clear that the main hall is not large enough to accommodate demand for larger community and fundraising events.
1) submit a formal planning application
2) purchase the land
3) secure funding for both the build and ongoing costs of the hall
At the Committee Meeting in September 2018 the OCA voted to instruct Simpson and Brown to apply for planning permission. This was based on the 64% mandate from the 2017 survey and the newsletter informing the community that this would happen. The vote was 11 for with 1 abstention and no votes against.
Public Resolution Meeting - October 2018 - Consultation 8
In October 2018 a meeting was held by East Lothian Council Resolution Team which came about following a representation of residents to East Lammermuir Community Council. The group of residents (Angus Macdonald/Ian Christison/Sheila Ainslie/Marie-Florence Macdonald) complained that there was a section of the community who did not agree with the plans for the new village hall and that their voices were not being heard (click on the ELC logo opposite to access the Minutes).
As a result ELC's Resolution Team were invited to become involved. After meeting with the OCA and a group of residents the afore mentioned meeting was organised and all those in the community who were not in favour of the OCA plans were invited. At the meeting, views were aired and a working group was set up combining residents from the group against the current plan and members of the OCA. The working group (Angus Macdonald - village, Paula Oliver - Dunglass, William Kirkham - Bilsdean , Paul Scott - village, Nikki Edge - village, John Hanvidge - village, Alex Ainslie - Thornton Holdings, David Legge - village) will look at plans which would be acceptable to all parties.
At the Community Association AGM in November 2018 a new committee was formed to take forward the duties of the OCA. They were:
Lynn Harris - Fernylea; John McGregor - Fernylea; Chris Bruce – village; Ian Christison – Dunglass; Sheila Ainslie – Thortonloch Holdings; Joyce Usher – Dunglass; Angus Macdonald – village. Sheila Ainslie stood down soon after as did Joyce Usher.
May 2019 - Resolution Service - withdrawal and apologies
Following concerns about the Resolution Service, a letter was sent to East Lothian Council from ex-OCA members in December 2018, evidencing the failings of the process. In response, a letter of apology was received from East Lothian Council, the following is an extract "I can confirm that the Resolution Service has now formally withdrawn from attempting to resolve this dispute.”
A letter of apology was also received from East Lammermuir Community Council.
A Community Project
When East Lothian Council condemned the play park but were unable to fund a replacement, a local resident took it upon herself to apply for windfarm funding and co-ordinate ELC to complete necessary groundworks and fit the new equipment. So in September, 2019 a brand new play area was open for business. Thanks to Alison Mells and Dougie Fox and his team at ELC.
Working Group Report - Consultation 9
In November 2019, the Village Hall Working Group presented a ﬁnal report. The report summary states:
"There has been a lot of information gathered on future village hall development through a range of consultations and surveys with the Community. This Group has attempted to bring that together and augment it with a view to sharing a set of design requirements and a number of recommendations as to how these might inform the development of any further options for hall design. "
The Group stated that it had disbanded, having "gone as far as they felt was possible".
The OCA held an AGM in February 2020 when a new committee was formed to take forward the duties of the Association. They are Jonathon Ellis - Cocklaw, Joe Zawinski - Oldhamstocks Mains, John McGregor (Treasurer) - Fernylea, Chris Bruce - village, Jacob Mells - village, Lynn Harris (Secretary) - Fernylea, Angus Macdonald (Chair) - village, Janice Donaldson - Dunglass, Alex Ainslie -Thornton Holdings, Ian Christison - Dunglass. Jacob Mells has since stood down.
November 2020 - Update from Chairman's Report
The Working Group Report was received early in 2020 and a new/revised Design Brief drawn up which was presented at the AGM in February 2020. This Design Brief was sent out to 6 architects/builders. We had a positive response from 3 companies - CSY Architects, Yeoman Macallister Architects, Simpson & Brown Architects.
In September of this year the committee had virtual presentations from 2 of the architects - CSY and Yeoman Macallister. Although invited to present, Simpson & Brown declined the option to put forward a revised design and advised that they do not wish to take any further part in our village hall design process. They have advised that their existing design is fully available to the community, having been paid for in full. The committee have taken the decision that the S&B design will be put forward for community consideration and feedback. Their design has previously received positive comments from the community, and in addition this gives a total of 3 designs, which is the preferred number indicated from community responses to the Working Group Report.
In the normal course of events the OCA committee would be organising a community meeting including full presentations from each of the architects. However in view of the restrictions currently in place, and no imminent change being likely, the committee are in the final stages of putting together a Village Hall Design presentation pack, a hard copy of which will be delivered to every household in the community. The pack will include:
- Introduction letter from OCA committee
- 3 design presentations - CSY, Simpson & Brown, Yeoman Macallister (Design sketches, company presentation, outline costs)
- Community Feedback Questionnaire - independently compiled and analysed
We are aiming to have this pack delivered to all households in the first week in December and look forward to receiving your feedback. We aniticipate that the independent analysis and report will be received by January 2021, which will again be published and distributed to all households.