There has not been much information to communicate in recent months; not because nothing has been happening – in fact quite the opposite. The challenge has been in achieving a design which is both within budget and meets the architect’s brief. The good news is that by the time this update is published we should have the basis for a design and an affordable way forward.
The architect was appointed and up and running in early April 2021 and immediately produced three designs which were all located at the northeast end of the site at the bottom of the slope. Unfortunately, the appointed full-time quantity surveyor was not in a position to provide costings until mid-July and their work suggested that these initial designs would be way in excess of the original budget, due mainly to the cost issues relating to building on a slope, together with factoring in a 15% increase in building costs over the last 12 months (due to a combination of Brexit and covid) plus the probability of additional cost increases likely between now and the time the building contract is actually placed (expected to be mid 2022).
Some attempts to reduce costs were made by reducing the size of the community centre but these resulted in designs that were unacceptably small for the community centre element of the project.
Another attempt to reduce costs was proposed by the architect which involved the refurbishment of the existing hall together with an extension for the health centre. However, this design was not deemed to be technically viable due to structural issues regarding the existing hall roof together with the suitability of the existing walls meeting current building standards and regulations. It also transpired that it was not a cost-effective solution overall, nor what the village was expecting.
With prompting from the Parish Council, design options which would be both within the Parish Council budget and meet the architect’s brief were produced. These options are in the process of being finessed and considered by the Parish Council. By the time you read this the finalised base design should have been approved by the Project Strategy Board at its meeting in late September 2021.
The base design with options for the external appearance and minor options for the internal floor layout will be presented to residents for their feedback at sessions which are now likely to be held towards the end of October. Details of this event will be made available on the village website, via Facebook and the usual village posters. The proposals will simultaneously also be available on the website for comment.
All the relevant and more detailed information is published on the Mayfield Community Centre section of the Parish Council website which can be found at www.mayfieldfiveashes.org.uk as it becomes available.