Village halls are an important focal point for small, close communities and plans are afoot for the residents of East Saltoun to get a brand new one.
Here at The Cryer, over the past couple of years, we’ve followed the work of the East Lothian architecture practice Low Carbon Studio very closely. Its considered design and eco-friendly approach have resulted in some beautiful homes in East Lothian and beyond, which we’ve invited you to visit via these pages.
However in this issue we want to tell you about an exciting project it’s working on that’s not yet been undertaken. For the past few years, Low Carbon Studio has been working on a proposal for The Fletcher Hall in East Saltoun, and the project is currently at the planning stage.
Built around 100 years ago, The Fletcher Hall was gifted to the community and is managed by the group of volunteers behind the Saltoun Community Association. It’s used by lots of local community groups as well as by Saltoun Primary School pupils, who use it for everything from their sports days to Christmas services, as well as their gym hall.
In recent years, however, the external and internal fabric of the building has deteriorated significantly and is now badly in need of repair. The repairs required are unfortunately very extensive and expensive.
For 100 years, The Fletcher’s Hall has formed part of the backbone of this tight-knit community.
Step forward Low Carbon Studio, which has come up with a design for a new building which will revive the village centre, and will be based around learning, leisure, health and well-being for the whole community, including the primary school. The intention is that the enhanced component parts of the building will provide improved accommodation for all the users and even open up new opportunities.
“The project is exciting and will re-energise the community which in recent years has seen the village shop closed but subsequently reopened, the church temporarily closed for repairs and the deterioration of the hall which is now showing its age,” says Colin Campbell of Low Carbon Studio. “A new hall will also free up space for the nursery in the school building and will allow all the pupils to eat together.”
The new design will start by improving access. The existing entrance is not level and an accessible ramp at the front is a temporary structure and eats into the car park. The existing entrance also requires school children to walk across the access road to enter the hall, which isn’t ideal.
The proposed entrance is level to provide easy access and allows children to enter the hall safely. A fence will provide a barrier to the car park. The entrance will also allow for secure access to the main hall and to the multi-use space so that both spaces can be hired out separately.
The existing games hall doesn’t have the correct area or height to provide for simple games like badminton or basketball. Instead, Colin’s design will provide sufficient area for a full-sized badminton court with circulation space around the perimeter. It will also allow for a small basketball court. The stage will be modular and demountable which will maximise the floor area, and bleachers are being considered for seating.
The existing school dining hall is shared with the nursery and it isn’t large enough to serve the whole school. Therefore, the proposed main hall will also be used as a dining area to provide lunches during the school term.
A multi-use space is also being proposed, which could be used at the same time as the main hall and could be let out separately. It could be used for everything from dance and drama classes to club and committee meetings. The addition of audiovisual equipment could broaden the scope of its use, and it would have the added advantage of freeing up some space in the school.
A new hall will also free up space for the nursery in the school building and will allow all the pupils to eat together.
The current kitchen is badly outdated and not fit for purpose. The new kitchen will be larger and will provide full catering facilities for events in the main hall. The existing playing field will be maintained, however the configuration of the football pitch could be amended. Some trees will be removed with new ones being planted. The car park will be reconfigured to give better access to the hall and to formalise parking, where currently cars are parked on the grass.
For 100 years, The Fletcher’s Hall has formed part of the backbone of this tight-knit community. As it reaches the end of its shelf life, we’re really excited about plans for its replacement.
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