Committee plans to extend Ridgewood Village Hall

Ridgewood Village Hall

Ridgewood Village Hall management committee is planning to submit a plan to Uckfield Town Council and Wealden District Council plans to provide to extra space to the Village Hall with an extension.

Karen Bedwell, the chair of the management committee spoke at last nights Uckfield Town council meeting seeking approval, as leaseholders to progress their plans. This was agreed.

A full copy of the report to Uckfield Town Council is reproduced below:-

‘As many of you will be aware, Ridgewood Village Hall was first built in early 1980’s and officially opened in 1989 .It was originally built through local fundraising with summer fairs and Old Time Musical events.

At that time there was a population of approximately 2600 people in the Ridgewood Ward

Following its construction the hall began to be widely used by regular local groups; Deborah Lamb dance school, Table tennis, Mother and toddler groups and private hire for parties and other fundraisers like jumble sales, with the continuation of summer fairs, and the Ridgewood bonfire society.

By the year 2000 the hall was being used by a diverse range of local groups covering all ages in the community and in 2018 as you can see from our timetable, Ridgewood Village Hall is a pivotal part of our community. Widely used for all ages and community groups and a registered charity with a strong management committee made up of local people, the hall goes from strength to strength, We are producing our own newsletter, we have successful Christmas fairs, Easter Egg hunts, summer fairs, afternoon bingo, quiz nights and for the first time last year a very successful family friendly firework display. We are also just about to be assessed for our bronze hallmark award, a national award in recognition of the efficient running and community importance of the village hall.

With the current population in excess of 3680 making up 24% of the Uckfield approx. 15,000 plus population Ridgewood is a growing community. Another 1000 homes at Ridgewood Place are going to diverse and strengthen the Southern tip of Uckfield Town and we need the village hall to be brought into the 21st Century to provide all the facilities required for a part of a town that has modernised and grown substantially since the construction of the hall nearly 40 years ago.

In 2012 a set of plans were produced and modified in 2013 to relocate the Uckfield outdoor bowls club to the recreation ground and combine their needs with our extension requirements. This would have brought another popular community event to the Hall and Recreation ground but sadly after 3 years of discussion the plans could not be agreed.

Which leads us to the plans that we want to submit to the council today.

As you can see from the plan, we need:

  • A new kitchen that can serve refreshments to the new and improved recreation ground during the summer months and is accessible without disturbing the hall users.
  • We need a meeting room (even the management committee are often forced to meet elsewhere as the hall is so busy).
  • We need a new floor (this was second hand from the beginning and in desperate need of replacing).
  • The toilets are antiquated and the plumbing a frequent problem.
  • We need storage space within the building for hirer use – there isn’t any!
  • We need to improve our fire doors which do not meet current regulations.
  • We need to improve changing facilities.
  • With the high profile trouble we have seen in Ridgewood and surrounding areas we need to improve our security.

Our scope for extension is limited:

We cannot extend into the car park as it would be far to costly as the Hall is built on a slope.

We can’t extend back more than 3 metres toward Millennium Green as it would interfere with access to the recreation ground and green and block out the view of the houses along the lane.

Our only option is to come out on the East wall.

The hall is dated and tired, it could look more attractive with wooden cladding, bushes, trees and a terraced area and could be fitting of the environment on which it stands and provide a community hub for another 50 years and beyond.