Having finally met all the requirements under the Methodist Church’s standard procedures in early January 2011, we were then granted authority to proceed to tender. Tender documents were issued to five firms on Friday 7th January, all of whom had previously indicated their willingness and ability to enter into a contract. Tenders are to be returned no later than 12 noon on 14th February. If the tender adjudication proves straightforward and the overall cost is within budget, we hope construction may start sometime around the end of March or early April. Building work is expected to take up to nine months although this will depend on the Contractor’s detailed programme. Nevertheless we are hopeful that the building will be weatherproof before the end of the summer and all the interior works will be completed by the end of the year.
Inevitably, construction of the Youth Hall will have a significant impact on the life of the church for the duration of the contract. In addition to the usual disruption of dust and noise associated with every building contract, our car parking will be restricted to only three or four reserved spaces for the disabled and ministerial staff. There will be a drop-off zone for deliveries and vehicle access will have to be shared with the Contractor. The loss of car parking will affect some existing users of the premises more than others and no doubt we will lose some groups, hopefully only temporarily, whilst work is in progress.
Is it all worth it?
Anyone who has any lingering doubts should pay a visit to the existing Scout Hut which was built in 1964. It is well past its sell-by date and totally inadequate to meet the needs of the Scouts who currently use a number of outside venues in the borough. Great credit is due to the dedicated team of leaders and helpers who have managed for many years to maintain our strong scouting tradition under very difficult circumstances.
The new hall will be more than double the size of the existing hut and will house an activity hall, equipment storage, meeting rooms, kitchenette, hobby room and toilets. The Scouts will have priority use of the building. At other times it will be made available to other groups from within the church and also the wider community. Management and maintenance of the building will be the responsibility of the Church Council under the terms of a joint agreement drawn up by the Youth Hall Development Group on behalf of the Church and the Scouts. Sue Massingham will manage bookings.
Being situated on Methodist–owned land, the new hall automatically becomes the property of the Methodist Church centrally (the Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes - TMCP in Manchester). It took a considerable length of time to develop a licence agreement that would ensure security of tenure for the Scouts and we are greatly indebted to Ted Totman, a retired senior property lawyer, who liaised closely with Manchester and assisted us in drawing up the formal documentation.