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Maya Ellis is the architect for the redevelopment work being done on Sandford Village Hall. She has over 14 years of experience working for large multidisciplinary companies, design agencies and architectural practices.  In the first of her monthly blog posts, she tells us more about what has been achieved so far.

How it all started

I’ve been involved with the Village Hall development since May 2012, when I was asked to come up with ideas on how to extend and improve the existing village hall.

Initially, it was a simple side extension which could accommodate a community shop. When I surveyed the existing hall, I realised there was a vast space above the hall not being utilised. It was agreed to include the conversion of the existing attic and an additional extension to relocate the storage area to the side and free up the floor plan for another meeting room on the ground floor – which gave the hall greater flexibility and use.

Redevelopment begins!

In February 2013 we were given planning permission and it was simply a matter of getting funding. After over a year of hard work by the Village Hall team and the Talking Shop volunteers, much of the funding was secured and on 1st April 2014 works started on site.

Basil Wyatt, the main contractor, were eager to get started but they had to wait until an Archaeological survey was completed. Once the Archaeologists left site, the excavations started – forming the foundations and the outline of the two side extensions.

The village hall was stripped, new external drainage laid and preparations were made for the hall extension store slab and a highly insulated base – an area which, if all goes well, could become the Talking Shop.

It was then a matter of simply waiting for the timber frame and new attic trusses to be manufactured and delivered to site. Eventually, the roof came off to make way for new roof trusses and by mid-July the extension, village hall storage area, and the main entrance gable skeleton was in place. At this point you could see the form of the final building.

The site today

The site is now well underway and building work is progressing rapidly on site. The roof is being laid and by mid-August we should be water tight. This will allow the internal fit out to take place.

Being on a tight budget, we are constantly value engineering every element of the works and reviewing the costs.

Community driven

It’s a very exciting project and I’ve enjoyed every challenge and milestone to date. It is definitely something the community of Sandford on Thames should be proud of.

I am in awe of the hard work the volunteers and the development committee have put into this project. It isn’t a small corner shop, this is a key part of the village and it is clear from the fund raising events I’ve attended that it’s supported by the immediate community and beyond.

A large group of volunteers have tirelessly given up their personal time to see that this project gets off the ground and it’s a pleasure to be part of it!

I will of course keep you posted on all the exciting news that will follow over the next couple of months.