Village Hall – a proposed new era?

Over the last few years the Village Hall Committee have looked at and tried to drive forward various proposals to try and ensure we have the best possible community asset well into the 21st century.

Recent History

Over 4 years ago we canvassed villagers as to what you might want from a village hall.   The outcome of this was planning permission to renovate the current hall (16/01869/FULLN).  To finance this, you supported fundraising events and our project fund stands around £65,000.  Build costs for this renovation were estimated to be in the region of £350,000 with eligible grant funding of around £100,000. As a committee, we felt that trying to fundraise £200,00 might be a step too far.

Three years ago, the sale of the Black Swan pub in Monxton, including the car park and village green, presented us with a unique opportunity.  Following initial discussions with the new owners and TVBC, there existed a potential option to build a purpose-built village hall on the existing car park in conjunction with two small roadside cottages. Build costs for a new community hub were estimated to be in the region of £400,000 with eligible grant funding around £350,000+; new builds attract additional grants as part of TVBC’s drive to create community assets fit for the future.

This main fund is called CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) which was introduced in 2016. Currently, TVBC is holding CIL funds of approximately £1.2m and we are confident that our bid stands a very good chance of success. More information on CIL can be found here:

As a community, you were again asked to provide feedback on the options available both on the online survey (July – Nov 18), paper surveys and various consultation events including a large stand at the Amport Village Fete in July 2018. The results for all of these shaped the proposals and design of the community hub which we gave to the developer.

In December 2018, this option was considered non-viable as the developer’s heads of agreement proposal proved to be too high risk. The village green would not be sold to MAVH / MPC and the proposal the developer suggested (build the hall first to their design and specification and then sell to us) would not meet CIL guidelines, so no funding would be available. Therefore, this option would no longer be viable.

In Jan 2019, a few keen members of the village undertook to see what could be done to refurbish the current hall within the budget of the existing funds. Using the results of all the previous surveys, they sought to design a refurbished hall within budget. In September 2019, they presented their suggestions to the VH Committee and, having received quotes for the work, all came in over budget and would not be eligible for CIL funding (as it’s not a newbuild or re-build). It was decided to put this option on hold.

In September 2019, the MAVH committee looked at a proposal to demolish current village hall, whilst keeping the foundations and services (water, sewage and electric) and on the current site build an oak framed building with windows on the south and front aspects and an entrance to be refashioned and glass-fronted. The design of the project would use all the information from previous surveys and as it would be a re-build, it would be eligible for CIL funding, an absolutely key element to any suggested project. It would have an air source heat pump and solar panels to ensure maximum eco credentials and low running costs.

The Future

Local architect, Luke Rose, has very kindly offered his services free of charge, in order to drive this forward and create a functional but aesthetically-pleasing building which uses the latest technology. (See proposed designs below)
Having delivered the first draft proposals to the Monxton Parish Council January meeting, with the chairman and members of Amport Parish Council invited to comment along with all locals in attendance, the architect has made some amendments and the planning application which will be submitted following the consultation. The internal layout will be firmed up in consultation with Monxton & Amport residents at a later stage.

Once we have obtained planning permission, we will look to apply for CIL funding for the proposal (April to June 2020), if successful (notified in December 2020) we then hope to start the build early in 2021.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support over this rather long process, but we are confident that we will soon be able to deliver to our villages, a community space that will meet your needs well into the 21st century.

There will be an open evening on Tuesday 25th February from 7.30pm to 9pm in the village hall. The architect, Luke Rose, will be in attendance to answer any questions, along with the Parish Council and Village Hall Committee. Please come along to find out more!

If you have any comments on the proposal, design or any other aspect, please do add your comments below in the ‘Have Your Say’ box. It is critical that we receive feedback (good and bad) from Monxton & Amport residents as this will be a key part of our bid for CIL funding.

Penny Kitson,
Chairman of Monxton and Amport Village Hall

Draft Designs


East Elevation – from the road. The yellow line shows the outline of the existing building.

South elevation – as viewed from the field. Glass windows and bi-fold doors maximise light and views.

North elevation – backing onto the wall of Bec House

West elevation – backing onto a wall and trees with Bec House

Proposed internal layout – this can be one large space, or split into two parts, depending on requirements. We are proposing a flexible, multi-use space.






24 comments on “Village Hall – a proposed new era?

  1. Peter Parfrey says:

    I have a number of concerns regarding these proposals .
    When I raised the noise issues at the early stages of planning, I was told that the entrance would be moved to face the road, and that this would result in a reduction of noise to the properties backing on to ‘Veronoica’s field’ The plans clearly show glass folding doors opening onto a terrace facing the field, where there is currently solid entrance doors and small windows.
    I understand the desire to capitalise on the location, but do not think that members fully appreciate the noise and nuisance levels inflicted on the few residents of Green Lane whose gardens and bedroom window back onto the site.
    If you walk past the Hall during a loud function, the noise stops almost completely as you move around the bend, and the properties behind and adjacent to the hall are barely affected.The properties on the North side of Green Lane are similarly sheltered
    There is still no proper parking nearby, and it is naive to think that if the project is successful in attracting new bookings then the majority of people will attend on foot–especially on dark nights in bad weather. It simply will not happen. The only possible remedy would be to encroach on the paddock and turn part of it into a car park. This is the paddock which is at the centre of the Village Design Statement, and the view from the Village Hall across which has often been cited by the Parish Council as a reason to refuse other , less intrusive , applications.
    This major glass fronted development would transform the area, and if successful would destroy the tranquil, rural wildlife haven at the centre of the conservation area.


    • Thank you for your comments Pete. The entrance to the building is at the front, facing the road. There will be bi-fold doors to the side, for opening in summer during the day. The glass will be quality double glazing which is superb at both sound and heat insulation (both keeping heat in in winter and heat out in summer).

      There are very few loud functions in the hall and we plan to have a limit on these in the future if possible.

      Parking will always be an issue in this location, which is why we have previously looked at moving the hall, but we have not been successful, as you know. We aim to have the building as more of a multi-functional hub, to be used more by local residents, in the future. We will be looking at improving the road verge along the field and we also plan to have some bike racks to encourage cycling. Sadly, using some of the paddock for parking is not currently an option, and this is highly unlikely to change.

      We feel the proposed building will be much more attractive than the current building and therefore enhance the village and embrace the tranquil field and allow users of the building to enjoy nature in a far more harmonious way.


      • Peter Parfrey says:

        Thanks for your reply Sarah.
        I can think of very few ‘potentially loud’ situations where the sound insulation properties of the the glass will make much difference. Whenever there is a significant number of people attending a function, even in the winter, the doors and windows have always been opened, and people have gathered at the front and sides of the hall. I do not think that fire regs would let you lock them, even if you wanted to, and on a balmy summer evening who would not want to open the doors and use the ‘balcony’.
        I know there have been very few loud functions recently, and the current committee have responded very constructively to any complaints, but once the building is up, any future committee members may well take a different approach, and wish to maximise their
        under used resource.
        You say that’ unfortunately’ use of the paddock for parking is not likely to happen, implying that you would welcome it.Once again the above applies, and I suspect that at some point in the future users’ embracing the tranquil field and enjoying nature’ will be at least partially overlooking a car park, which would hardly enhance the character of the conservation area.


      • Pete – the side doors will only open onto a Juliet balcony – ie some railings to stop anyone falling out of the doors. We can only do the utmost possible to mitigate any noise, but we hope the building will not be under-used given the new ideas we have, and that parties will be few and far between.
        Whilst I have NO desire to see the field become a car park, we are aware that parking is an issue for the hall. As you know, we have explored many different options over the years. So we either decide that Monxton and Amport have no community facilities and therefore none of the possible negatives associated with this (volunteers, noise, inappropriate development, parking), or we do our best to ensure something suitable to meet most requirements for most of the community.


  2. Cathy Barbone says:

    Having lost the pub, if the village and local area is to stay a viable village community, I welcome any improvements to the village hall. Having moved here 20 years ago when there was a thriving pub and a regular bus service and now seen the decline in village life, I find it quite sad that people in the village don’t really mix anymore. If a modern village hall rejuvenates the community and makes wanting to live in Monxton more attractive then I’m all for it. If it doesn’t work, then we can at least say we have tried. The 25th is design for people to have their say and make recommendations so we can at least try and get this right for everyone.


    • Pete Weston says:

      I would like to put forward my support for the proposed plans for the new village hall. Quite frankly, the current hall is a mess. It needs replacing, and the idea of replacing it on the same plot size/foundations whilst improving the environmental foot print is in my opinion an excellent way to move forward.
      Having attended numerous meetings, fitness class and polling station at the current hall, i can Honestly say it’s an awful place to be.
      It’s cold, smells, feels damp, the boiler is past its last legs and it looks dreadful. The new hall plans look excellent and I hope the community can see how much better the hall will be.
      Whilst I can understand some people’s concerns, surely this is a better proposition than keeping the current pit of a hall in place. I understand that the current weak heating system is soon to fail completely as the oil tank has been condemned. We have seen a number of proposals for changing the hall over the past few years which for various reasons were not viable. The new plans make sense to keep it at the same place and size, and with the improvements proposed, we can make this a viable and flexible place for local villagers to enjoy.


  3. Di Darbyshire says:

    I feel as an Amport resident moved to write – when we arrived in the village in June 2002 there was (as Cathy points out) a thriving village pub in Monxton. We had a young family and moved from outside the area, the pub was a wonderful introduction to the community and we can honestly say that 18 years later those people we met are still very much in our network of friends. We have been lucky enough for our family to grow up in this inclusive community. However, now the village is left with a sad and dilapidated village hall as it’s only community hub we feel that old sense of comradeship slipping. This is the chance for both Monxton and Amport to reconnect with each other. Tales of the old ‘Hut’ on Amport village green make us yearn for that sort of community. This design is a chance to rekindle that feeling – somewhere to meet and mingle. Look at the success of Abbotts Ann village shop as a hub – with its Pizza’s, Paper’s, Coffee. Or slightly further afield Rosebourne – which has provided somewhere delightful for people to meet. An attractive, functional village hall that suits a 21st century community would be a boon – and perhaps we can encourage people to walk again and enjoy the benefits of nature (as Pete suggests) Parking is always going to be an issue until we rekindle the idea that such short journeys should be done on foot! Come on Monxton – get behind this. What better way to spend developers money than something positive for the community!


  4. Jim Bowden says:

    I support the proposal. The village will benefit from a future-proofed, flexible and environmentally sound new facility designed with future use in mind. The initial designs and architect’s drawings point to a village hall we can be proud of and, as others have pointed out, will act as a much needed and wanted focal point for the community. Car parking and noise are valid concerns. Car parking is a problem now and will remain irrespective of the outcome I’m afraid. Walking (as many do) is to be encouraged, but beyond that I’m not sure much new can be done. I live on Green Lane and whilst you can hear the village hall very occasionally (maybe I’m a sound sleeper but it doesn’t impact on my quality of life) the same is true of the pub at Amport and private events. Careful and responsible management of use and bookings is the answer so that we balance all needs and concerns. I like the glass frontage in the design, which will enhance the quality of the experience of all users. I welcome the planned open evening where the designs can be scrutinised and commented upon and the architect asked questions. So far so good – it’s a very positive step in the right direction, which has my backing.


  5. Peter Parfrey says:

    Please note,I am not against the proposal per se, and have been actively involved in both Amport School, and most of the very successful community functions held here in years gone by, but we were asked to comment on both positives and negatives, and there are some significant negatives.
    I would not expect Jim to suffer a great deal from noise , as his garden is screened by a tall beech hedge, large expanse of Alan’s lawn, and a belt of woodland. All of this before the brook and the full width of Veronicas field. Pilhill Lodge is also blocking at least part of the direct line towards the Hall.
    Cathy, I too have observed the decline in ‘village life’ over a period of 30 years, and sadly this is a nationwide phenomenon. The Black Swan has a somewhat chequered history, and only really worked when Graham was running it., also the building of the Marsdens Pub on the old Airfield put paid to the most reliable income stream from lunchtime DLO business.
    As far as I am aware, the Village Hall has always struggled for bookings. This was certainly the case when Katie and I were involved in supporting the Play Group there some 20 years ago. So there is a very big if in ‘if it works,’ If it does not work, then,as Ian says on the other thread, it would be quite a drain on resources
    I share many of Di’s thoughts on the matter, but honestly fail to see many similarities to Abbots Anne village shop, and Rosebourne is a different animal altogether.
    There still remains the fundamental problem of parking
    I would love to think we could turn the clock back to a previous era when people were polite and sociable, and actually walked to places and I look forward to finding out how those who have done so much work on this project plan to make it happen


    • Di Darbsyhire says:

      Pete – let’s be positive and bring back that sense of community! It is possible – the example I was making of the success of Rosebourne was that while pubs are closing daily the likes of Rosebourne have made a pleasant place for people to meet and mingle and shop!! Abbotts Ann too – a lovely community space, run by the community (in fact some of our villagers do shifts there!) Ok a building does not a community make, but a pleasant building goes a long way to encouraging that community!


  6. Nicola Dunning says:

    I am excited about the renovation, or even better, the rebuilding of our village hall. I think the rebuild plans look great and will give us a multifunctional space that will be enjoyable for us all to spend time in. At the moment, with the Black Swan closed and our village hall feeling so dilapidated, our village is lacking a heart.


  7. Vincent Douglas says:

    Hi…..having digested the new design we believe this will be a vast improvement to the eye to the current building which is dreadfully outdated and somewhat depressing. It will enhance the village as a whole and hopefully encourage local residents from both Monxton and Amport and further afield to re-engage in social activities. We held a private event there in January for over 100 young adults with no complaints of noise from any one in the village. It gets our vote 100%.
    Good luck to the Parish council in getting the appropriate funding and well done to all the councillors who consistently try to improve the village and its community. A thankless task as we all know.
    Vince and Jules


  8. Rob Jones says:

    Hi …. I really welcome such an addition to the community, it is attractive, practicable, a slight expansion on the existing footprint and therefore not having to dig up old foundations but to utilise what is there, is genius!!! A form of upcycling rather than rehashing a building that does not bring credit to such a wonderful community as Monxton or the surrounds of Amport and beyond. By using latest technologies such as Air Source heat Pumps and K Glass to reduce the use of fossil fuels and additional advantages such as sound deadening capabilities with modern double glazing (filled with the right Inert gas and slightly thicker glass can actually work better than triple glazing). As a comment, I would strongly suggest that the double glazing includes integral blinds, if not already costed, they are practicable and because they are encased in the glass will not damage , not get dusty or dirty and with careful management at evening events will stop light pollution to those backing onto the river across the paddock.
    I do hope this can become a hub for everyday small business users during the day, a place to meet and create a community work place for idea share or information gathering; for home workers currently many do not have the back up of an office community.This can aide creativity and productivity of the self employed small business owner. Parking is now a major issue in all thriving rural communities and a parking plan might have to be enjoyed elsewhere, so therefore I welcome the idea of the bicycle racks for those who do, and hopefully improved walking provision for those who don’t and welcome what other future plans the local Parish Councils are trying to employ.
    As a final comment that is not meant in any other way, this is our community and it is up to all of us to help support you as a committee and work to make this happen in the right way.


  9. David Eaglesham says:

    1. Our Village design Statement says that the field is’ an important open area’, and as such any building nearby should use similar materials

    to adjacent buildings, trees be maintained, and the wooded nature should be protected.

    A glass fronted pavilion style modern building could not be more out of character.

    2. This type of modern glass sided structure would cause significant light pollution.

    a. By day there would be an enormous expanse of south facing glass reflecting light back across the field disturbing wild life and the villagers the other side of the river.

    b. Turning on the lights will flood the field with light, and not help the wildlife at all, or those living nearby.

    3 . Noise and disturbance will be a greater nuisance for those of us backing onto the fields especially when the folding glass doors are opened.

    4. PARKING and vehicle ACCESS—there is none.

    To Sum up:

    We are proposing to build the wrong structure in the wrong place!


    • mikecleugh says:

      Hi David,

      Your first point mentions similar material but you omit to say what – the current hall is a 1960s eyesore and a barn style building is more in keeping with the village design statement.

      The significant light problems can be mitigated with blinds or shutters as required.

      Similarly any light in the evenings can be mitigated with blinds or shutters as required.

      Noise can be mitigated by use of the double glazed units and sound absorbent blinds.

      Given the only time noise has been a problem as far as I am aware has been when parties have been held this is an occasional problem in the past and you advised only approx 3 times in 5 years which can be mitigated through management policies on renting the hall.

      Parking while an issue can be mitigated by villagers, walking or cycling as this is intended to be for local events i.e. Amport and Monxton local users.


      • Peter Parfrey says:

        I do not wish to enter into the kind of online debate that too often descends into pettiness, but your rebuttals really do not address the issues raised
        Most people, including the conservation officer at TVBC have a fairly clear understanding of what constitutes similar and sympathetic materials and design in a conservation area populated with very old buildings and thatched cottages, and whilst the proposed design is attractive in itself, a glass fronted modern building clearly does not fit the Design Statement criteria.
        The double glazed units will obviously only mitigate noise levels when the windows and bi-folding doors are closed, which is unlikely to be the case on a warm summers evening.
        You state that light and noise can also be mitigated by users being left to draw the blinds of their own accord, and that noise can be futher mitigated by ‘management policies’ on renting the hall.
        Enforced how exactly?
        The relatively low number of formal complaints in the past has been largely due to the fact that people generally do not ‘like to make a fuss’ and cause upset.
        Your repeated suggestion that users will walk or cycle from say the far end of Amport on a wet and rainy night is wholly unrealistic, and whilst I understand that the hall will be intended mainly for local users,once it is built there are no guarantees that changes in policy or personnel will not alter things considerably.
        As I stated in an earlier post, I am not against the proposal per se, but would appreciate the very real concerns a number of us have not being brushed aside with vague assurances


  10. David Baugh says:

    David Baugh 7th March 2020
    I think the plan for the new village hall is commendable. I understand the doubts of those living in Green Lane, but with good management and careful booking I hope their fears can be overcome. The old hall is now over 50 years old and apart from a few small alterations back in Graeme Leslie’s time is unchanged and consequently seriously showing its age. We now have the opportunity to have something radically better and modern as a replacement and will have the funds to achieve it. Having a new hall in many ways is the easy bit. Making good use of it and caring for it is not always so easy. I really hope that if this project goes ahead as it should the communities of both Amport and Monxton will pull together to make it work. I’m sure we can.


  11. katecavalier says:

    I’m a big supporter of the new plans – they look wonderful and are much needed community space for our villages


  12. katecavalier says:

    I’m a big supporter of these plans, they look wonderful and provide much needed improvements to our community space – for both villages


  13. Bernadette Fleet says:

    This is an amazing opportunity for the community and I wish it every success. I can see that the plans are an ambitious project and believe they would fulfill a growing need in the two intertwined communities of Amport and Monxton, Bernadette Fleet Headteacher Amport CE Primary School.


  14. Lorna Cowling says:

    Having only recently moved to the village from another village location we are missing the community spirit we once had in our previous local pub. We currently live next door to the “Black Swan” and watching it crumble away (literally into our garden) makes us sad as we would be much happier supporting local pubs by having a beer in the garden.
    The alternative to having a local pub is to have a good village hall and the one we currently have is also looking very sad – looking at the plans (which look pretty amazing!) I would be in full support of the new improved option. Good luck in the journey and I hope it isn’t a long one 😉


  15. Andy Stevens says:

    Having moved to Monxton approx 3 months after the Black Swan closed I have never known what having a pub brought to village life. A few older residents have indicated that the pub acted as a community hub and was the centre of village life. Whatever the reason it is evident the villages now lack any form of central gathering point and any real sense of community.

    I also endorse the comments about the existing hall building which by any measure is in need of thorough refurbishment or a complete rebuild if it’s going to be a viable asset into the future. The CIL funding limitations suggest that the only viable option would appear to be a rebuild. On that basis I feel the option being proposed is a bold statement of intent to build a premises that reflects a desire to engender a community spirit within an attractive modern design, whilst remaining sensitive to environmental concerns.

    Unless I am missing it, what I would like to see alongside the physical plans is a business plan for developing the use of the building. For example, is it envisaged to make it more of a community hub with coffee shop, small shop etc? By being less reliant on evening social events may also help reduce the risk of increased parking and noise nuisance mentioned in earlier posts.

    The building of a new hall offers a great chance for Amport and Monxton to come together with a renewed sense of community, let’s make sure we don’t waste the opportunity. I for one am fully supportive of the building plans published above.


  16. David James says:

    For whatever reason the village hall was built the wrong way round, with the services on the field side. It has declined badly in the past few years and quite frankly as a polling station it is just about
    ‘fit for purpose’.
    If funding can be obtained I think that the current proposal should be pursued. We do indeed need to re-establish a focal point for the village while there are still people here who care enough to give their time and energy to the project and the running of the new hall.


  17. Aka Ismet says:

    A better solution – and use of the money – would be to build a new “village hall” on Amport Green. There used to be one on the Green and it would have the advantage of there being plenty of space for some car parking – without detracting from what will remain of ample play space on the Green itself.
    The site in Monxton could be sold (? for a new house ?) to provide funds towards the new hall in Amport – or maybe the land cleared and used as a much needed carpark for the Church.
    In any event a village the size of Monxton is probably much too small to make the proposal a viable proposition in the medium to long term.


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