Congresbury New Village Hall Development Trust – using the Community Right to Build for new community centre project

Congresbury New Village Hall Development Trust is using a Community Right to Build Order for its new multi-use, self-sufficient community centre.

Community Right to Build is an alternative way of achieving planning consent for a project – one that does not require a traditional planning permission from the local authority, and which is passed by local people voting for it at a referendum.

Congresbury is in North Somerset; a rural village with a population of 3,700. The Trust’s ambitious £1 – 2 million project is to build a new hall to accommodate indoor sports, changing facilities, recreational spaces and a community café. The new building will replace two badly deteriorated wooden buildings on the existing playing fields site and minimise the need for local people to travel in order to find suitable venues.

Congresbury New Village Hall Development Trust

Congresbury New Village Hall Development Trust

Having completed an initial pre-feasibility study to confirm the viability of their ideas and gauge solid community support for the plan, the trust were awarded a Community Buildings Project Support grant of just under £24,000 to help them progress their Community Right to Build Order. This was used for detailed designs and plans, supporting reports and community consultation.

Congresbury New Village Hall Development Trust

Ian Sheppard of the Congresbury New Village Hall Development Trust said the project had benefited from the involvement and support of local people.

“Going through the Right to Build process has meant that everyone has been able to find out everything they want to know about the plans and had the opportunity to have their say in moving them forward. 

He pointed to a wide range of benefits that will result from the project including the enhancement of local life through more sporting, recreational and leisure options, reduced running costs due to an energy efficient design, and an increase in local volunteering with 76 people having already joined the project team. A particularly welcome addition to local life will be the provision of a community café.

“It has the potential to become the hub of the village and reduce the sense of isolation in a rural community especially amongst the elderly and vulnerable, single parents, and stay at home mothers,” he said.

Congresbury New Village Hall Development Trust

We are pleased to report that villagers did indeed vote in support of the project. Congresbury Village Hall referendum took place in September 2016 and the CRTB was passed with 70% in favour.

The project is being supported by architects Stride Treglown and North Somerset Council.