(Originally written for the Parish Magazine by the St Chad’s Centre Trustees)
Having just ushered in a new year the parish is beginning an exciting new chapter in its history. Since 1945, as the village was expanded with successive new housing developments added, various community attempts were made to create a village and church hall facility – all have failed. With permission granted for up to 150 new homes to be built off Oakley Wood Road, the population will further increase.
Locating this important amenity at the heart of the local community will benefit all ages of residents. The absence of such a hall in Bishop’s Tachbrook is actually quite an anomaly.
Did you know that Bishop’s Tachbrook:
- Is the only Parish or Town Council area in Warwick District not to have the benefit of a village, or even a church, hall.
- Is the only village in Warwick District with a population larger than 150 people, which is not able to use such a facility.
- Has the 3rd largest population of the Warwick District parish council areas (2,558 people at 2011 Census) and will expand as the new homes are built.
Consultation, surveys and research dating back more than a decade identified community facilities residents in Bishop’s Tachbrook would like. The agreed plan was for a new building to be centrally located on land previously set aside for this purpose in the churchyard, adjacent to the village green.
To realise this plan, in 2012 The St Chad’s Centre Trust Company Ltd was established and registered as a charity. Trustees were nominated by the Parish Council and the PCC, as well as others from potential users of the new facility.
A 99 year peppercorn land lease was granted to the Trust and over £100,000 raised from personal donations and community fundraising, almost all of which has been spent completing the detailed Centre design, obtaining consents for planning, listed building, ecclesiastical faculties and completing pre-commencement conditions. The short section of foundations constructed protects the Centre’s planning permission in perpetuity.
The 2013/14 tendering process identified a preferred building contractor and, allowing for contingencies, a further investment of £500,000 would be required to complete the building. BT Parish Council granted £50,000 and Warwick District Council added a grant of £300,000, and agreed to underwrite the additional fundraising for the remaining £150,000 required.
So what’s new for 2015? With pens poised over the contracts the Trustees are delighted to announce that the construction phase is planned to begin in April 2015, running through until the end of November 2015. This then allows time for commissioning and an official opening before the end of the year.
By Christmas, Trustees expect the Centre to be up and running for bookings. It will be available to book through the Parish website, with users registering to enable them to view availability. Rates and a timetable of events/groups will be published.
The Trustees and all who have been involved in the creation of the St Chad’s Centre believe it will stand at the heart of our community, transforming village life and afford safe and comfortable facilities that encourage interaction and sustain interest in activities and events that directly enrich resident’s lives. In a few years time we will look back and wonder how we coped without simple amenities like toilets for events on the village green or a base for groups who have stoically managed using the church’s mediaeval facilities.
Trustees will judge the St Chad’s Centre a success if it is being used, with utilisation rates over 50%, by a diverse range of groups of all ages who are coming together not just for their own benefit, but to also serve the wider community.
For further information, keep visiting this website.