An East Yorkshire firm of chartered building surveyors is helping to preserve village halls for communities across the region to ensure these vital hubs remain standing.
The team at Delaney Marling Partnership is working with members of the HWRA, formerly known as Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council, which is an independent charity working to improve the sustainability and vibrancy of rural communities in the Humber region.
The HWRA aims to tackle the common issues faced by rural communities through various projects. Its services enhance the facilities in these communities, supporting their development for years to come. The charity also works in connection with the East Riding Association of Rural Community Buildings.
Kevin Marling, director of DMP, said: “We were introduced to members of HWRA at Driffield Show back in 2019 and invited by the association to take part in an event they were hosting at the Holme-on-Spalding-Moor village hall, to offer expert property-related advice on the maintenance of these buildings. As a result of our discussions at the event we have been commissioned to provide a variety of surveying services to a number of village halls.
“To date we have visited five buildings and talked to various village hall committees, which were a combination of village halls and rural buildings – undertaking surveys at Hutton Cranswick, Harpham and Middleton on the Wolds, as well as village halls in East Cottingwith and Cherry Burton.
“As chartered building surveyors, DMP provided detailed reports on the condition of the buildings, with specific cost estimates for the repair of the issues/refurbishment and adaptation of the facilities that were identified in the initial survey. This information helped the village hall committees to understand their buildings and repair issues, as well as assisting in obtaining grants for the works and the long term plan for the management of the buildings as well as addressing any concerns with their current state.
“The findings of the surveys will aid the sustainability and longevity of these village halls that are so vital to rural communities.”
Paul Almond, of Harpham Village Hall committee, said: “While we have been generally aware of the issues around the structure of the hall for some time, the trustees found the formality of the report, which included specific cost estimates, very useful in seeking quotes for remedial work that needed to be done. The level of detail within the report also helped to produce the specifications needed when asking for quotes for this remedial work.
“It is a very useful working document for ongoing up-keep of the premises, as well as for items legally required that might have been missed, due to lack of detailed knowledge of the trustees.”
Denise Wales, from Middleton on the Wolds, said: “Middleton Village Hall is at the heart of this small rural community and provides a venue for young and old. With rising maintenance costs due to the age of the building, the village hall committee commissioned DMP to carry out a building survey, which established that the hall had a number of issues that needed addressing, a lot of which we were previously unaware of.
“Having the detailed information provided by DMP enabled us to prioritise the repairs and put in place a business plan for the significant maintenance, upgrade and refurbishment required to ensure the future of the building.
“We were fortunate in obtaining a grant from the Smile Foundation which enabled the most urgent repairs to be carried out. We are continuing to apply to various bodies for funding to enable the completion of the refurbishment and look forward to life beyond restrictions, with warmer brighter days ahead and meeting up with friends old and new in our newly refurbished hall.”
Kevin Marling added: “The village halls we have visited so far vary in age and were built between the 1930s and 1980s. They now require a level of repair/refurbishment to extend their useful life to the local community. This can be difficult to assess by the committee when there is limited budget available.
“We have been carrying out condition surveys, reviewed planned works and costed out the repairs. We have also provided asset management to allow the various village hall committees to plan any works in order of priority. This gives us a bigger picture and helps them to plan the future of their village halls and the services each one provides into the rural communities.”