Current Project

New Community Hub

The Church Hall (or Mission Hall) as it was originally referred to in 1898 is a much cherished place where for over 120 years history has unfolded. ASTRA is keen to see its survival . 

The Hall was originally funded by public subscription as is the case again more than a century later. The only difference being in 1898 the budget was a little over £130 and today it’s a little over £370,000! The Victorian foundations remain , but most of what we see today is a much heavier building put up in the 1950s. This is now showing major wear and tear, its shelf life is limited and its operational capability reduces by the day. A structural survey of the building undertaken in March 2014 concluded that a rebuild was the best way of moving forward. 

Following extensive consultation with the village and working in tandem with CMI Reviewing the plansArchitects we have come up with an attractive design solution , files of which are listed below:

The building is a focal point and home of many village groups:

  • Bow Brickhill Pre-SchoolGroups who use the hall
  • Bow Brickhill Brownies
  • The Parochial Church Council
  • Bow Brickhill History Society
  • The Drop In
  • Bow Brickhill Lunch Club
  • Bow Brickhill Book Club
  • Guitar Club

In addition it is an ideal venue for small meetings, fund raising events, private parties, family celebrations and public meetings.

Proposed outcomes from the re-build project

Proposed outcomes for the projectIt will continue to be the home of Bow Brickhill Pre-School which uses the facility Monday to Friday each week

Villagers will benefit from an increased sense of community cohesion and village pride through community organised events, clubs, social and educational gatherings

Older people will maintain, gain and build stronger individual and social networks enhancing their independencies and reducing isolation.

All members of the community will have improved access to a range of community services, activities and events organised by local groups and individuals, which in turn will increase community health and well-being.

The Plan

Our project proposes the demolition of the existing Hall and the construction of a replacement community facility on the same site. The existing building is in desperate state. Not only does the deteriorating state make it unattractive to users, it is not easily accessible, presents safeguarding and security concerns, lacks storage space, is inflexible, energy-inefficient and costly to maintain.

The planStructural repairs and renovation have been considered but a redevelopment of the facility is the only feasible and sustainable solution given the extent of the repairs required. Unless we can act in 2020 it will be condemned.

In 2016, ASTRA put together a ‘community brief’ and in response our architects proposed a plan for its renewal which has been tested at two public village meetings, attracting overwhelming support. In 2017 ASTRA CP secured full Planning Permission for the project.

The Hall is owned by the Parochial Church Council and run on a `not for profit’ basis, being managed by residents from across both the faith and secular community. It was built in 1898 by private donation and fundraising and offers the community affordable if not free accommodation to this day – an incredible 120 years service to our community.

ASTRA chooses its Architect

Astra architectWe have chosen CMI Architects as project architect. They pride themselves on a philosophy of integrated design, open communication and working practices, combined with close attention to cost management. Their client base is a diverse spectrum that includes commercial and residential developers; local authorities; housing associations; national institutes; privately funded educational facilities, charitable trusts, as well as private clients in the air traffic, automotive, chemical, engineering, financial, food, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors.

It was CMI Architects’ wide experience, track record of delivery, personalised professional management service and solutions on projects from conception to completion covering all stages of the RIBA Plan of Work that won ASTRA over.

ASTRA chooses its build partner

Build partnerLiskandas is a Norwegian and Lithuanian share capital company that manufactures and constructs houses and commercial buildings according to a durable Scandinavian technology. This technology has been a primary standard for houses built in Norway and Sweden since the date the company was established.

Today, they are building houses and commercial buildings all over Europe. Liskandas produces external and internal walls, ceiling and roof wooden frame elements with full exterior and partial inside finish.Screenshot 2020-04-01 at 08.54.32

The main benefits of Liskandas is fixed pricing, quality , sustainability, fast build and sections manufactured to the finest tolerances in factory conditions. The main building will be erected on our site in circa 6 days!

ASTRA chooses its Groundworks partner

From the beginning it became apparent that our site Screenshot 2020-04-01 at 08.56.38was going to be difficult. Ground surveys that took 20m deep core samples quickly drew attention to the
geological challenges. If this was not enough we were dealing with a 5 degree slope side to side and front to back plus the tightest of construction sites and finally tree roots!

With the constant fear of getting our foundations wrong (by repeating the mistakes of the past) finding unknown problems that potentially could blow our budget apart, ASTRA embarked on a thorough investigation of our options.Screenshot 2020-04-01 at 08.56.48

During these challenging times, in which several competitive proposals were examined, one individual and one firm came to the fore and convinced ASTRA (time and time again) that FJ Morris, founded in 1965 had the expertise and trust of the entire team. To deliver a safe and above all affordable solution that wasn’t loaded with uncertainty.

Working with the ASTRA steering group, Architects CMI ,engineers AND Design of Godalming and Liskandas, Frank Morris eventually arrived at a solution that worked.Screenshot 2020-04-01 at 08.56.43

ASTRA cannot thank Frank Morris enough for the work, sheer effort and above all patience throughout a long and demanding 5 years and all provided on a voluntary basis with a smile! 

Demolition of the existing structure

Pictures below show before and after the demolition which took place on Friday, 3 July 2020.