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The story so far....

The journey to retaining some of Barrowden's vital social and wellbeing facilities has been a long one, and has involved many people and thousands of volunteer hours. This is a brief outline of the main points along the journey to preserve the facilities around the hall, shop and surgery for the next generation; hidden between the lines there is much effort and many people who are not mentioned by name, but whose help has been invaluable. 

2012 Structural engineer’s report identifies significant issues with the village hall building.

2014 - Refurbishment and repair programme, £4660 lottery grant funded, dealt with most of the immediate concerns.

Spring 2016 - Barrowden and Wakerley Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire produced strong evidence of the importance of the Village Hall. 98% of these being positive about the importance of the Village Hall.

Sept 2016 - Concern raised at Village Hall Committee meetings regarding the deteriorating physical state of the Village Hall. David Lovering (Chair) asks Brian Edwards, John Haddon and Bill Lockwood (trustees) to set up a sub group to research ways in which the facility can be protected and continue to  serve the social and well being needs of the village for the long term future.   A new working group is created with cooperation from the Parish council, the Village Facilities Group.   A discussion document ‘Planning for the Future’ is circulated to all organisations in the village. Group begins fact-finding visits to other new village halls to gather ideas for solutions and formulate a strategy.

2017 The Village Hall committee accept the Village Facilities Group proposal of a village facilities plan, to encourage the prospect of a community “hub” which would bring together a community hall, shop and surgery/wellbeing centre. 

2017 Barrowden Village Hall Committee secures “Awards for All” funding to help establish a plan for future provision of community facilities in Barrowden. including our ageing village hall (1927), the well- established shop which is in a temporary building, and a surgery which has building issues and serves 14 local villages.  Focus Consultants (Nottingham & London) commissioned to carry out an  extensive professional consultation.

Nov 2017 - Barrowden Village Hall Development Group (VHDG)set up as a successor to the Village Facilities group. 

April 2018 - FOCUS publish their Needs Analysis which identified that the need for a community space which would support exercise, sport and social activities was highly important to the majority of the community, and that the existing building had a limited life.

May 2018 - FOCUS seeks planning view on sites for new facilities : Rutland County Council state:

“There would be no objection in principle to replacing the Village Hall on its existing site”

Oct 2018 - FOCUS Consultants produces its report based on a detailed professional needs analysis. 

The process of information gathering included public drop- in sessions, open workshops and one-one interviews together with a well-supported Community Needs Survey carried out on-line and on paper, delivered to every household.


“The report identified community needs highlighted by social and rural isolation, access to health and wellbeing, maintaining community spirit, the importance of facilities for children and young people and the need to bring all ages together.” 

"Barrowden is within the 10% most deprived LSOA's in England regarding geographical barriers which relates to the physical proximity of local services though below average in economic deprivation. We have identified loneliness with  rural and social isolation through a local community needs survey."

November 2018 - David Finlay, of Acanthus Clews architects presents his work on Warwick Hall in Burford, previously visited by the VH development group, to key stakeholders.

December 2018 - Working party confirms the view has been reached that we need to replace and re-purpose the hall and develop a cluster of flexible purpose built community facilities that can deliver the solutions that meet the needs of present and future generations.

January 2019 - Village Facilities Development Group begins feasibility study for a project to develop a village  hub on the site of the present Village Hall, Shop and Surgery. Funding obtained from parish council and local groups.

March 2019 - Architect David Finlay meets village organisations to discuss their requirements in a future village hub building.

April 2019 - Offer from Burghley Estates for the entire site from Kings Lane to Wakerley Road to be made available on long term lease for the Barrowden Village Facilities Project.

2019- Barrowden Neighbourhood Plan published. However, the hall is in need of replacement. Policy BW14 would exceptionally enable a new village hall to be provided on land outside but adjacent to the Planned Limits of Development where specified conditions are met.

July 2019 -Barrowden Village Community Hub Feasibility Study by Acanthus Clews architects identifies a potential project in a format which allows further consultation. Study shared with Rutland County Council Planners on a site visit in July 2019. 

Aug 2019 -Lottery grant of £37500 was received in August 2019 and used to support sufficient design work to allow a planning application to be made for a village hub, to encompass the replacement community hall, village shop and a surgery/well-being centre.

January-February 2020 -Public consultation events held on 31st January - 1st February 2020. Project boards were displayed and the architects and Village Hall Committee were on hand to explain the design and answer questions. Feedback forms completed by those attending. 

February- March 2020 - Architects liaise with RCC planners.

Changes made to scheme in light of comments received from Open Day, mainly neighbours. 

BPC raises - In particular the question of whether Zinc sheeting on the roof and wood cladding on some of the exterior walls is appropriate for this setting, neither of which we have elsewhere in the core of the village. They point to the design requirements in the adopted Neighbourhood Plan and will not be commenting on the design at this stage, this is something which will be done on receipt of the formal consultation documents from RCC.   

April 2020 -Barrowden Village Community Hub Pre-application Submission (pre-app). Widely circulated in the villages and with Rutland County Council planners. Accessible via BPC website. 

May2020 - representations received  from residents. All letters acknowledged and in some cases our reason given for the design etc. Changes are made to the design to reflect and respect comments made by residents.

May 2020     BPC - no formal response given at pre-app stage

June 2020 - minor changes made to design, amended west window and south side clerestory, in response to representations made.

July 2020 - Planning application submitted on behalf of the Village Hall Trustees by Barrowden parish council (this reduced fee by 50%). Supporting documentation from Burghley Estates 

4 Aug 2020 - Planning Application ratified

8 September 2020- Video meeting BPC and VHDG discussion largely addressed Neighbourhood Plan and covered villagers’ concerns (May reps). Architect’s response to NP issues drawn up and sent to BPC and RCC

16 September 2020 - BPC comments to RCC largely addressing Neighbourhood Plan.

17 November 2020 - Planning Committee. Letter sent to Rutland County Council planners in support of the application.

9 Feb 2021 - Plans approved for the Hub building by Rutland County Council. However, during the pandemic, our main funding stream was halted by policy change and the scale of the project was considered by the village hall trustees as too costly to fund from other sources.

March 2021 - Updated 4 year plan and update newsletter to village 

June 2021 - Agreement with Parish Council over parking management plan

Autumn 2021 - Further examination of funding sources lead to the inevitable conclusion that the estimated £1.5m is unlikely to be achieved and a more staged approach is necessary to secure the vital social and well-being facilities in the village.

Jan 2022 - Rationale developed for building Hub in a 3 stage process. Residents updated with decision to shelve plans for joint community hub and the development group re-examine the possibility of replacing the village hall as a first step in the Hub project.

Feb 2022 - Building survey carried out by Smithers Purslow Structural Engineering - the conclusion is that rot and structural problems have increased since the last survey in 2012 and the building is now beyond economic repair. See "Structural survey"

April 2022 - Feasibility of alternative parking arrangements discussed with Burghley Estates and Uppingham surgery 

May 2022 onwards- Alternative sources of funding and methods of fundraising examined by the development group. 

Examination of alternative building methods, including modular, prefabricated, steel frame, gulam frame, block build etc. Various suppliers contacted and reviewed. Similar buildings viewed and discussed.

 Frameworks and SCAPE building method investigated and meetings held with SCAPE and Morgan Sindall. Feasibility studies carried out by Morgan Sindall. 

June 2022 - August 2022 - Three prospective architects interviewed who presented ideas and preliminary plans for consideration. After due consideration, Harris McCormack are appointed. They are local architects who understand the Neighbourhood plan, have undertaken sizeable projects in Barrowden and come highly recommended by local customers. 

August 2022 - complete our application to become a CIO and register with Charity commission.

September 2022 - Meeting with Nicola Turnbull of Rutland Primary Care Network who is enthused about the possibilities of the rebuilt community hall serving the needs of social prescribing within south Rutland. There is lack of estate space within the NHS primary care network in our area and she has produced a paper on how the PCN could utilise the facilities we will be able to offer, to enhance and support the current health and well being  projects planned  by the local primary care services. See "Health and Wellbeing"  page

Revised 5 year plan 

October 2022 - Meeting with local MP Alicia Kearns, architects, Parish council representatives, members of user groups, village hall trustees, County council representatives and Primary Care Network. Alicia Kearns MP fully supportive of our plans and is kept informed ongoing.

November 2022 - COF application form in progress. Public open days held to obtain feedback from residents, launch fundraising campaign, present design options. Funding pledges received, and feedback on the initial designs.


Latest plans and open events in November Over 60 attendees over 2 sessions. Pledges and donations made. Letters of support received.


December 2022 - Application to Community Ownership fund  for £250,000 plus possible development funding submitted. This application is the result of years of work by the village hall committee and several weeks of work to complete the application form. The result of our application will be known in the spring of 2023.


February 2023 - Planning application submitted for phase one of Village hub. Planning application number  2023/0155/FUL available to view on Rutland County Council website planning department. Application verified 13th February 2023

March 2023 - We have been successful in parts of our bid for the Community Ownership Fund, but have been asked to revise some sections of the application. We have done so now (April 2023) and await further news. Meanwhile we are continuing our discussions with other important sources of funding such as the National Lottery and the Barrowden Charities. We are also awaiting a final decision on our planning application.

May 2023 - Good News! - Full planning permission granted for the new Village Hall as phase one of our Village Hub.

We are still awaiting a decision from the Community Ownership Fund and discussions with the National Lottery are ongoing. We are also in discussion with the Parish Council about the obligatory Public works loan, on which any Lottery funding is dependant.

JUNE 2023 - More Good News! Our Community Opportunities Fund grant application for £300,000 has been successful, thanks to the enormous efforts of the Village Hub Development Group and supported by our Parish Council and not least our hard working MP, Alicia Kearns. Further grant funding already identified will now be pursued in order to match and exceed this amount, including the National Lottery, local and national grant bodies, landfill levies, our local Charity and public benefactors among others. 


Thanks to the support of Barrowden Parish Council as a whole and the many residents of Barrowden who voted in favour, we have asked the Parish Council to apply for a loan from the Public Works Loan Board of £50,000. The application is now with the governing bodies and we are optimistic of approval. The loan is a vital factor in support of our National Lottery bid.

Our application for the Public Works Loan Board Loan of £50,000 has been approved, thanks to the diligence of Barrowden Parish Council. 


We have received the great news that our National Lottery Community Fund grant application has been successful and we have been awarded £250,000 towards the costs of our replacement building. This means that we have confidence to commence the building works, whilst still continuing to fundraise for fitting out. Other major donors are also contributing substantial grants to our funds, including Garfield Weston, Bernard Sunley, Foyle Foundation, J R Corah and many generous villagers. Full details on our Fundraising page.

Consequently, we have appointed a local contractor, Messenger Construction, and are continuing with our architects, Harris McCormack, who will oversee the build. It is estimated that the build will take approximately 30 weeks from a start date of 20th May.  As the kitchen ceiling is falling in, this really is "just in time".

The hall will close permanently on 30th April 2024, allowing a few weeks for dismantling and storing equipment. A very interesting Building Record has been made which illustrates the history of the hall and can be read here.

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