Redevelopment of the existing school room and entrance to create an accessible community space that meets the needs of our current visitors and makes provision for future growth. The redevelopment will include updating of the current provisions whilst also providing new facilities such as new accessible toilets, a new kitchen, a larger community room that provides for flexibility in use, and provision for external and internal storage . The scheme will also include alterations to the principal entrance ensuring that all of our visitors can access our building readily and easily. We will be looking to include off-street disabled parking and incorporation of gardening opportunities to promote engagement with our community visitors.
Click on plan to enlarge.
The location of the entrance has been retained in the proposals. However, the proposals show this as a remodelled space with the intent to create a more user friendly accessible entrance.
Currently, the entrance lobby has several doorways that have double door-sets that provide little margin for movement either side of the entrances of the doorways to allow entry for those who require carers to aid their movement.
The proposals on the drawing outline the proposed reconfiguration of the doorways. Turning circles for wheelchair users (1.5m diameter) have been provided on the drawing.
The proposal aims to reduce the solid and heavy connection between the west window of the nave, replacing the masonry structure with a glass link, reducing the visual impact of the connection. The west window will need to be carefully reconfigured, allowing the stone transom to extend to the neighbouring stone mullions to create a larger opening to aid those with mobility challenges. Modifications to the heating pipes located on the face of the west wall (church-side) will be required.
The current use of the existing school room requires the room to provide several functions, including a multi-use space, kitchen, tea point, storage, space for piano and various other objects. Given that the room is required to cover many functions, the space is not used to its full potential.
Given the potential of the existing school room, the proposal sets out to retain the existing school room, as this is a valued asset and provides a good level of accommodation and floor space. The proposal aims to extend the school room to the North, making use of the piece of land to the rear of the existing hall.
The connection between the proposed new building to the existing school room has been guided by the location of the north windows, with the proposal to remove the windows and sections of wall in-between, creating a large open span within the north wall which would be supported by a section of steel. The opening would project into a new space that would be sheltered by a glazed roof, this roof would wrap around the north and east elevations of the existing school room and connect with the new entrance to the south elevation. The space created to the north of the existing school room is seen as an extension to the current facility, maximising the floor space of the community room. The space will provide access to the ancillary facilities and also a link to the outside space. The glazed roof will allow for natural light be flooded into this area and into the community room.
The plan shows the existing entrance into the community room remodelled with a glazed screen, and the door entry to the community room further north of its current location.
The church has one toilet on the ground floor that provides a basic level of facility for those who are abled bodied. The toilet is not considered a wheelchair friendly toilet. The proposals aim to address this.
The proposal outlines three toilets, one disabled, one unisex, and one which provides a baby-change facility within the toilet enclosure. The toilets are accessible from a corridor link that connects with the lobby between the church and the proposed community room. The toilets have been located in this location for several reasons, the first being that the drainage is in this location resulting in less changes to the drainage system. Secondly, the toilets need to serve the church and the community room, possibly when both spaces are in use. In addition, should the community room not be in use, the visitors to the church will need to gain access to the facilities.
The existing facilities provided within the school room are inadequate and do not provide a provision for the developing needs of the community. The proposal aims to address this.
The kitchen is located within the new pitched roof building, and accessible from the community room. The kitchen is a domestic style kitchen, providing basic refreshments for the users of the building. Windows have been designed into the west gable to allow views from the kitchen into the new community garden.
Storage is not prevalent in the current building, with the school room doubling up as storage space for chairs/tables etc. There are existing storage units within the east of the school room, these could be retained if it was seen as useful.
The proposal aims to provide a new store room for the community room, with a link directly accessed from the space.
An external store has also been included within the proposal. The external store is located to the rear of the building, with direct access to the adjacent garden areas.
The location of the proposed building will require changes to the gradients to the north-west garden area and will require some retaining walls to be developed. The section of garden to the west is proposed to be re-purposed for community well-being, with those users finding benefits being involved in community gardening.
To the principal south entrance, the proposal would be to re-grade the landscaping to accommodate level access to the principal entrance, removing the need for a ramp. This area would link to the adjacent path and potentially to a new disabled car parking area.