The main hall at Horden Centennial Centre
Sam Jones

£500k lottery-funded project transforms Durham facility

A £500,000 Big Lottery-funded project has transformed a deteriorating 111-year-old building into a vibrant new community facility at Horden Centennial Centre in County Durham.

Designed by the team of architects at Leeds-based practice, Ormerod Design Ltd and executed by Vest Construction in conjunction with quantity surveyors Thornton-Firkin LLP, the redevelopment of St Mary’s Community Hall has created 412 square metres of modern accommodation as a focus for community services, activities and events that will support neighbourhood regeneration and tackle deprivation issues in Horden, a former mining village near Hartlepool. Commissioned by a working group of local stakeholders which included Accent, the project involved the complete refurbishment and reconfiguration of the layout to enable simultaneous multi-function use incorporating a new reception with inclusive access, main hall, ancillary facilities, meeting space and coffee bar.

Subject to detailed consultation with existing and potential users and community groups, the innovative scheme used locally sourced materials and labour and sustainable design including maximum reuse of materials, thermal performance upgrades, high efficiency/low-energy lighting, zoned heating and air conditioning, solar panels, low-water-use and ‘A’ rated appliances and maximum use of natural light. A demanding design brief required a difficult balance between the needs of local stakeholders, carbon footprint reduction, budget restrictions, the Equality & Diversity Act, Part M Building Regulations, significant structural issues and the aesthetic sensitivities of a building which occupies the grounds of the Grade 2 listed St. Mary’s Parish Church.

Liz Hughes of the project’s planning consultants, G & L Hughes, said: “Horden Centennial Centre demonstrates that, even when faced by the most challenging and broadly restrictive conditions, it is possible to rejuvenate much-loved community buildings to meet contemporary standards and sustainable design needs. Opting for demolition would have lost a significant link to Horden’s history. These types of project are never easy and this particular scheme had to marry the client’s aspirations with the reality of the building envelope. The result represents a fantastic achievement for all involved – it has delivered a vital facility which in future will be able to adapt to the evolving needs of the local community.”

Michael Fishwick, representative of Accent and Horden Centennial Centre Trustee, said: “We now have a sustainable and attractive building to be proud of and a successful project which is benefiting local residents and groups. Ormerod Design have provided outstanding support and customer care throughout. In working with a team of volunteers, Big Lottery and the local community, Ormerod have been key in helping us deliver a first-class community building responsive to the needs of its users and trustees. “

Andrew Fradgley of Thornton-Firkin said: “We worked with Ormerod Design as the quantity surveyor on this project and assisted in delivering modern and flexible accommodation within the available funding. This was achieved from working closely together with the design team, building contractor and local community. Working with Ormerod Design on this project, we found them to be very professional and detailed in their approach.”

Armine Sutton of Ormerod Design said: “The project team worked hard to deliver the brief within the budget and enough cost savings have been made to consider proposals to create other desired facilities in the building, such as a new fitness suite and resource centre within the basement space.”

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