Burngreave Messenger.
Issue 40 April 2004
 

Investing in the Vestry

The Vestry Hall is an important landmark for Burngreave and one of the most visible signs of neglect in our area. New Deal have now committed to spending money on it and efforts are already being made to get match funding. They hope it will be back in use by September 2005.

The Vestry Hall is built on land owned by the Duke of Norfolk and leased to the Council, who built the Vestry Hall in 1864 (see History of Ellesmere Green for more history). It was closed in 1996 because the Council were unable to prevent the decay of the building, claiming lack of funds. Despite years of effort from the Vestry Hall Trust it remains derelict.

What’s happening now

After years of speculation, things are now beginning to happen. Plans are being developed by a new steering group who are working with the Council as part of the ‘Advancing Together’ programme. John Mellor is representing the Vestry Hall Trust, and told the Messenger:

“I’m glad something is finally beginning to happen. The Vestry Hall Trust has battled for years to get the building back into use. Whatever happens, it’s got to be sustainable, that’s one of the reasons why we are aiming to make it into a learning centre.”

John Clark, BNDfC Chief Executive, estimated the total cost of refurbishment would be between £2.5 and £3 million.

What are the plans?

Nothing is set in stone yet and there are lots of ideas, like suggestions for an arts centre linked to an open market, theatre or social space. John Clark told the Messenger it was important that agreement was reached quickly about what will be in the Vestry so that work can begin.

“We’ve heard lots of ideas but they can’t all go in the Vestry Hall, we need to make sure everyone feels there’s something for them. The key thing about the Vestry Hall as a community learning centre is it’s not about classrooms – it’s about bringing people together to learn from each other. The social aspect is as important as any learning.”

Three levels have been discussed – on the top floor traditional learning and IT provision, on the ground floor an open area for multipurpose use and social events with a small café area, and in the basement graphic design facilities, mini arts space and studios and photographic dark rooms.

If you have ideas about what should be in the Vestry Hall contact Joice Richards or Jon Cowley at New Deal on 292 2906.

 

Vestry Hall.
Vestry Hall (as viewed from Ellesmere Green).
     
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Index for Issue 39 March 2004.