Prime Minister formally opens new Parish Hall click to open / close
The brand new Parish Hall at Enstone was opened by the Prime Minister, and MP for Witney, the Right Honourable David Cameron in a short ceremony on Thursday 27 November 2014. The Prime Minister met Parish Councillors, adults and children from Enstone, and many others who had played a role in building and funding the new Hall. In his opening speech the Prime Minister emphasised the vital contribution of village halls to sustaining local communities, he admired the appearance and height of the Enstone Parish Hall, congratulated the council on getting it built, and recognised the contributions made by organisations and individual members of the local community towards funding it. A pupil from Enstone School, Arnold Blacker, brought forward to the Prime Minister for display in the Hall, a painting that had been made by the pupils at the school to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. Finally the Prime Minister unveiled a splendid slate plaque to commemorate the opening, commenting, “I get to open many buildings, but this is actually the first time I have opened a building that wasn’t already open”.
Enstone Parish Council has long been trying to replace the earlier Parish Hall, a corrugated iron building dating from1922, and finally achieved it on a new site in Enstone as part of The Paddocks housing development by Persimmon Homes. The sale of the site of the old Parish hall and a major grant from West Oxfordshire District Council enabled the Council to fund the building. The superb new Enstone Parish Hall is now open for business, and despite a total cost of half a million pounds, the cost on the tax bill of local households will be only £1 a year. The entire building is heated by ground source heat pumps from boreholes and comprises a lofty main hall, a multi-purpose meeting room for up to 30, a professionally equipped kitchen and on site parking.
On arrival for the opening the Prime Minister was greeted by the Chair of the Parish Council Mr David Parris and by Mr Rob McGrigor who had led the project to build the new Enstone Parish Hall. In setting the scene and introducing the Prime Minister, Rob McGrigor thanked those businesses and individuals who had contributed so generously towards the building, mentioning West Oxfordshire District Council, Oxfordshire County Council, the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE2) with funds from Grundon Waste Management Ltd through the Landfill Communities Fund, Oxford Rural Community Council and the Co-op.
Report: Yoga Focus with Nikki Jackson click to open / close
Main Hall: This month we take a look at Yoga Focus run by Nikki Jackson on Monday evenings at 7.45pm.
"Vinyasa Flow Yoga" for all abilities including beginners.
This class blends traditional yoga practises of postures (asanas), pranayama (breathing exercises) and deep relaxations, with modern day approaches towards healthier lifestyles and is designed to ease stress and tension in the mind and body, improve posture and flexibility as well as strength and energy levels.
Nikki Jackson has taught yoga for 25 years, having trained extensively in the West as well as India. She is also an occupational therapist with many years experience of working with variety of physical and mental health conditions in the NHS and is also a Mindfulness for Health teacher placing much emphasis on relieving the stress and tension that builds in the mind and body due to modern day lifestyles.
Here is what others thought:
These classes provide genuine teaching approaches and are full of knowledge, warmth and compassion. I have benefited immensely from them. (Dave)
Many years of classes with Nikki’s wonderful, positive and supportive teaching has enabled me to keep body and soul together and to go forward with a spring in my step. She becomes a MUST in one’s life. (Tania)
The Birth of a New Enstone Parish Hall click to open / close
Enstone Parish Council had long been trying to replace the earlier Parish Hall, a corrugated iron building dating from1922, and finally achieved it on a new site in Enstone as part of The Paddocks housing development by Persimmon Homes. The sale of the site of the old Parish hall and a major grant from West Oxfordshire District Council enabled the Council to fund the building.
2012 Enstone Parish Hall - Business Plan Summary
Name: Enstone Parish Hall Projected Funding: 2012/2013
Object: To provide a community building suitable for the needs of the parish.
There is an urgent need to replace our existing parish hall (tin-built, circa 1922) which has reached the end of its useful life.
The new development at Coxs Lane of 32 dwellings (of which 16 are ‘affordable’) within its planning requirements (covered by Section 106) has included the construction of a new parish hall, built to a shell and plaster completion, with the fitting out to be funded by the Enstone Parish Council.
The funding will be achieved form the proceeds of the sale of the old parish hall land, donations and grant or other local community funding where possible. The Parish Council firmly believes that the new parish hall, in providing much improved facilities and usage, will bring the local community closer together and improve our parish and village life.
Organisation and Hall Background
The parish of Enstone is one of the largest in Oxfordshire, situated 15 miles north-west of the city of Oxford on the eastern edge of the Cotswolds. Two villages, Neat Enstone and Church Enstone adjoin and there are six small hamlets of Fulwell, Radford, Gagingwell, Cleveley, Lidstone and Chalford which are all in the parish. There are about 500 properties on the electoral list and a population of around 2,000. The resident population of Enstone in mid 1998 was 1,600 people which represents some 2 per cent of the population of West Oxfordshire local authority.
The breakdown of the parish population in mid 1998 was as follows:
This compares with 20%, 60% and 20% respectively for West Oxfordshire as a whole.
The parish is predominately a farming area with 10 or so mainly medium to large arable farms. An attractive area, on a major thoroughfare, it has a rich cultural history. There is an ancient Druidical burial ground believed to be pre-Roman (55BC) and Saint Kenhelm Church is said to have existed before 830 AD. Oxford is 15 miles away, Stratford 30, Stow on the Wold 9 and Banbury 12.
Existing Community Facilities
In addition to the existing parish hall there is also a school hall. Formerly the youth hall, and financed by the village, this was taken over by the Education authority for use by the school and is no longer able to be used by the community for the vast majority of the time. Technically the school hall is available for hire some evenings in term time but in practice it is not felt to be easily accessible, nor is it promoted for hire. The church is used for sales, some film shows and a harvest supper, but clearly the nature of this building does limit its use and the location suffers from similar parking issues to the existing parish hall.
Enstone has an active and well run sports and social club on a 5 acre field owned by the Parish Council with two football pitches and a cricket ground, together with a pavilion, stone built by the club. It is run entirely by voluntary input. The location of this sports field adjoins the proposed new hall site. Enstone has a thriving village shop with an outreach Post Office. The main Post Office element was withdrawn in 2009.
On the nearby old wartime airfield there are a number of businesses, including a feed mill, plastics recycling company,
building firm, heavy transport and car servicing firm, and the airstrip is used for light planes and gliding. Also located in Enstone at Whiteways Technical Centre is the site for the Lotus Formula One Team (formerly Bennetton and Renault) which was constructed in 1992. The site is responsible for 90% of the construction of the
racing car as well as the coordination of the race team, employing over 350 people.
The existing Enstone Parish Hall building, situated at the end of Chapel Lane within Enstone, was originally built for the Women’s Institute and the young men of the village in the early 1920’s, but suffered lack of use and the deeds were transferred to a charity which is an organisation belonging to the Charity Commission - Charity Number 226105. This was set up with the Parish Council being made trustees of the hall and the control of the hall organised by a Management Committee. The Management Committee look after the cleaning and bookings of the hall etc. An annual return is made to the Charity Commission in relation to the finances of the hall.
The existing Enstone Parish Hall was once the hub of village life with local organisations meeting there, mothers holding children’s birthday parties as well as many other social events. Unfortunately, over time, the hall has become outdated, limited in space, facilities and modern comforts, and its parking facilities woefully inadequate for current day needs. Its method of construction dictates that it has now reached the end of its useful life. Additionally it does not meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act and has been operating under a temporary dispensation since 2004. The world has moved on and so have many of the groups who used it. The
exercise group run by Age Concern still uses the hall but the singing group has moved to the newly built Great Tew Centre as it prefers the modern surroundings and heating system. The Women’s Institute and Parish Council still continue to meet there.
The building has become unmarketable and without it, the village will lose the only building in which public meetings can be held – it needs to be replaced.
Planning permission has been granted for a building on the same site, however, the Parish Councillors are convinced that a building here could prove to be a liability to the taxpayer due to the fact that it would have no parking to speak of, or any nearby, which immediately severely limits its market potential and so a new site for the parish hall was required. Fortunately a new development of housing in Cox’s Lane, with a parish hall included in the plans, has been proposed and is now going ahead, which will meet the needs of our community.
In deciding to proceed and support this new development, the Parish Council is determined that the new building will reflect a modern, forward thinking community, and that it will be as ‘green’ as possible within an agreed budget to benefit the environment and reduce future running costs. However it is recognised that this will be a very large capital project for the Parish Council to undertake.
Planning permission has been granted for the new hall, together with 32 dwellings, of which 16 are classified as ‘affordable’. The Section 106 legal agreement has been signed and a developer (Charles Church Developments Ltd) has purchased the development.
The planning and Section 106 agreement provides for the shell and core of the hall to be provided with the freehold site and gifted to the Parish Council or hall trustees on completion. The Section 106 agreement has conditions which ensure the hall shell element is finished before the market housing can be sold.
In 2004 a questionnaire was distributed to every house in the parish and of the 420 questionnaires distributed, 320 were returned. The questionnaires results were analysed and collated as follows:
Better hall facilities, including additional parking, and suitable kitchen facilities topped this list with a small room for meetings and stage facilities in the main hall also receiving a number of votes. As there is no opportunity to provide additional car parking on the old parish hall in Chapel Lane site and the very poor access of this road, the need for a new site was confirmed.
In August 2010 the Parish Council had a table set up at the annual Enstone Show asking people for their views, the majority of which indicated preference for a new site due to the insufficient parking at Chapel Lane. The Parish Council has also sought guidance from the ORCC’s (Oxfordshire Rural Community Council) parish halls’ advisor and some Parish Council members have attended the ORCC’s parish hall meetings.
With the provision of a new Enstone Parish Hall, the following groups are examples of those that might be attracted:
With facilities to attract groups both inside and outside the parish and a good marketing strategy, a new hall could house social and educational events such as an outreach worker from the Citizens Advice Bureau, or for example, a baby clinic etc. It would also be available to act as a polling station when required, which would obviate the necessity of closing the school on an election day so that the school hall can be used, a practice which has caused concern among parents. The hall would provide a much needed centre for the whole of the parish which not only includes Enstone itself but its six neighbouring hamlets. The intention is that the new building will be open to all residents and regarded as a community facility.
In addition to the extensive community group use the hall is expected to find a large market for private social events examples of which are:
The hall will be available for such hire at attractive rates which will not only help engender a stronger community spirit and feeling, but also encourage the economic benefits of such events to be kept within the parish and surrounding area.
The new hall is for the whole community within our parish and with the population slowly, but steadily, growing with some 18 new houses completed in the last year (Crossways and Manor Close) and the Cox’s Lane development, which will add 32 dwellings (about 100 in population), to the parish, there is expected to be increased demand for a hall.
With only one public house now situated in Church Enstone and the Sports and Social Club with a bar for members use only, the parish has very poor facilities on offer for the local community and it is this shortfall in facilities we intend to address with the new hall.
Aims and Objectives
To provide a new Enstone Parish Hall for the foreseeable needs of the parish that should take account of the following requirements:
Subject to capital costs and incentives in place at the time of construction or fitting out, the design of the new parish hall will take into account the environmental impact of this building in the following ways. It is intended the following will be considered:
The Parish Council will need considerable external grants to help meet the costs of the new building if it is to limit the amount of the build that is levied on the precept, but is fortunate to have the proceeds of the sale of the old parish hall land which will contribute to the new building fitting-out costs.
Enstone is fortunate to require a relatively low precept compared to other local parishes. (Using the 2001 census data as a guide Enstone has the 43rd least expensive precept per head out of the 83 parishes in West Oxfordshire. If those with a population under 500 are ignored (probably more relevant anyway) the parish is 27th out of 36). The parish council is committed to limit the increase of this as much as possible as a consequence of providing a new hall by the following principles: