1. Why do we need a community centre?
The current hall, Copt Hall, is beyond economic repair and a new community centre is required. This has been supported in all recent village surveys such as Health Check , Hawkhurst Neighbourhood Development Plan 2016 and survey in January 2018.
2. Where is the new community centre going to be built?
The preference is for a site near Highgate, but no sites are available. Therefore, it was decided in January 2019 to build the new community centre at King George V Playing Field.
3. Why that location?
We have undertaken feasibility studies on up to 17 sites over the years. By late 2018 only the King George V Playing Field site was available. The Parish Council did a SWOT analysis of this site and a potential development site at Hawkhurst Golf Course.
The SWOT analysis confirms King George V Playing Field as the preferable site. TWBC have included the King George V Playing Field site as the site for a new community centre in their Local Plans since 2006 and it is included in the draft Local Plan 2016 – 2036.
4. What will be the impact on King George V Playing Field?
The Parish Council will keep the football pitches but also aim to enhance the junior playing surfaces and provide new changing rooms to Football Association standards. The land used for the community centre will be the existing building, car park, garages etc.
5. Will we still be able to play football?
Yes, the pitches will be retained and improved.
6. Will it be the home to Hawkhurst FC and Hawkhurst Juniors FC?
Yes, the aim is to have improved playing pitches and new changing rooms to FA standard for the teams to use.
(Note: during the building phase the pitches will be in use and we will provide temporary changing so football can continue)
7. What about the playground?
The Parish Council will relocate the existing playground on the site and has engaged with families and young people in the design of the playground as part of the project.
8. How did you get to this design?
We worked with local groups and users to draft an architect brief in 2018/ 2019. We appointed an architect and developed the design over the last few months.
9. How much will it cost?
Following the consultation, we will refine the design and we will then be able to confirm the cost. At this time the project is estimated to be around £2 – £3 million; this will be finalised once the design is finalised.
10. How will it be paid for?
It will be a mix of funding sources:
Proceeds from sale of the existing Copt Hall site,
Funds linked to Copt Hall,
Potential section 106 developer contributions
Public Works Loan Board funding.
The Public Works Loan Board funding will require a village poll with a majority of 51% of respondents supporting the project. The repayment costs of the loan will be added to the Parish Precept.
10. So how much will it cost me?
At the moment the estimated additional cost is in the region of a large cup of “Christmas festive coffee” or two per month, per average property. Once we know the costs we will include the actual increase in the precept in the village poll so people know what they are getting and how much it will cost them.
12. How much will it cost to hire the facilities?
The current room hire cost of the Copt Hall and Sports Pavilion are relatively low and reflect the facilities. The pricing structure is considering peak and off peak rates plus concessions for parish groups. This will be developed in the business plan as the designs are being finalised.
13. Who do you think will use it? Who is it for?
We want it to be a real community resource, for everyone in Hawkhurst to use.
14. What will happen to the Copt Hall?
We currently have a planning application in to renew the existing planning application to redevelop the site for up to three houses. Once the new community centre has been built, the Copt Hall will be sold and the proceeds will be used to help fund the new centre.
15. When will it be built?
We are aiming for the following –
Consultation Jan – Feb 2020
Submit planning permission spring 2021
Permissions by summer 2021
Tender autumn 2021
Building commence in 2022
16. What will happen to the other halls in the village?
The Copt Hall will be closed and the site sold, but Dunks Hall, the Royal British Legion etc. will remain open.
17. Why didn’t you use All Saints Church?
All Saints Church is owned by a developer who has developed apartments. It was therefore not available.
18. Why can’t it be the Victoria Hall?
It is a listed building which limits size and flexibility plus there is no parking. The Kino rents it and runs a popular and successful cinema.
19. Who are HCT 2018?
Hawkhurst Community Trust 2018 are a new charitable community trust set up to operate the new community centre on behalf of the community.
20. Are HCT 2018 linked to the Parish Council?
The Parish Council can nominate 4 Trustees out of 12 Trustees. No Parish Councillors area allowed to be Trustees. HCT 2018 are a completely independent charity.
21. When is HCT 2018’s AGM?
Their most recent AGM took place in November 2020, the next will be arranged for autumn 2021.
22. There were some plans for village halls – didn’t we go through this before?
Yes, but some time ago and we want to make sure the new community centre reflects the needs of today and the future.
23. What about the tennis courts?
The Parish Council upgraded them into a Multi-Use Games Area in early 2020.
24. How many car parking spaces will there be?
We are aiming for around 50 car park spaces plus overspill parking for large events.
25. How can I get involved?
There are several ways you can get involved;
Become a “Friend” of HCT 2018.
Make a donation of time / money to HCT 2018
You could consider a “legacy” towards the project
Pop into Hawkhurst Library or Parish Office to view the displays