Following the publication of the concept design for the new Perranwell Centre, the trustees invited responses from local residents. Two Zoom meetings were held, plus some face-to-face conversations. The following questions were raised during those meetings.
The principal issue that concerned local residents was parking and, in particular, whether sufficient car parking would be available to serve the new building.
Q. Would there be parking on the east side of the new building alongside Westmoor Crescent?
A. It is expected that a few vehicles will park there, usually those which are first to arrive and which would remain throughout the session, with as little movement in and out as possible. Good screening would be installed.
Q. How will parking be managed for so many activities?
A. 37 car parking spaces are currently provided on site and the aim is to have at least as many following the construction of the new building. During a normal week of hall bookings, it has been estimated that a maximum of around 25 to 28 spaces will be occupied, which indicates that there is probably some spare capacity to cater for an increase in day-to-day traffic.
The number of activities taking place in the hall will remain broadly similar to the present, with two exceptions. The first is that when the theatre or auditorium are in use, sports activities will be able to continue, which is not the case now. This means that the marginal increase in attendance will be those extra people using the sports hall, for example, perhaps a badminton group of eight.
The second exception relates to the Ruth Collins lounge, in which Age UK Cornwall will run a day facility for the elderly. Some people will arrive on foot, some will be brought in and dropped off, some may be conveyed by minibus and some may arrive in their own vehicles. Most of this traffic will be during the day, but probably outside times when parents are dropping off or collecting children from school. We believe the increase in car parking associated with the Ruth Collins lounge can be accommodated.
However, the trustees will be taking further immediate steps to improve traffic management which, it is admitted, has been neglected in the past. A new condition of hire will require everybody who makes a booking to accept responsibility for managing the
parking of anybody who attends their event. The aim will be to accommodate as many vehicles as possible in the car park. In the past, it has been found that, with careful management, the capacity of the car park can be greatly increased. When the car park is full, vehicles will be directed to any overflow areas that have been identified and on-street parking. At the request of local residents, parking on Chyvogue Lane will be positively discouraged. Where more vehicles are expected than spaces available in the car park, organizers of events will be required to appoint traffic marshals to organize parking.
Negotiations are taking place for a reciprocal parking arrangement with the school. At present, parents are allowed to use the village hall car park to drop off and pick up children. If agreed, the school’s car park could be used for overflow parking at weekends. This will add about 20 spaces.
Discussions will also be held with the Playing Field Committee to see whether a designated area could be provided for overflow parking.
Q. What will happen when there is a football match?
A. It is known that as many as 70 or more vehicles may be present on football match days. Until now, car parking has been left unsupervised. That has to change. Measures will be introduced to improve traffic management. The responsibility for this lies jointly with the village hall trustees (because the football club uses the clubhouse on the village hall site), the playing field committee (because football matches are played on the playing field) and the football club itself. Each party must recognize – and will be encouraged to accept – its share of the responsibility and take appropriate action. The trustees expect the playing field trustee, that is, the parish council, to accept that current car parking arrangements are insufficient and work with us to improve matters; likewise, the football club. As a community, we all need to work together to seek, and implement, solutions.
Q. How can parking on Chyvogue Lane be avoided?
A. Previous answers have indicated how parking on Chyvogue Lane can be discouraged. However, it may be helpful if the residents of Chyvogue Lane could also help to improve traffic management by, say, erecting clear signage asking people to avoid parking there or perhaps by volunteering to assist with traffic marshalling at times of peak traffic.
Q. Could vehicles be parked in an underground car park or under the building, if it were built on stilts?
A. Both options were considered but, on the advice of our architects, rejected. Building underground would be prohibitively expensive. Building on stilts would have increased the overall height of the building and been too obtrusive for neighbours.
Q. Will the architects be able to assess the parking requirements?
A. Yes. A full assessment will be undertaken towards the end of Stage 3, before a planning application is submitted. A traffic management scheme will be submitted as part of the planning application.
Q. Why are you rushing the redevelopment process?
A. There is absolutely no rush. The process started in 2014 with the energy efficiency survey and was continued with the structural survey in 2018 (the intervening period was taken up with converting the village hall charity into a charitable incorporated organization). The trustees considered matters very carefully and decided in 2019 that redevelopment, rather than refurbishment, was the preferred route. This was announced in Perran News and regular updates have appeared since then. Surveys have been conducted to ascertain the views of stakeholders.
Towards the end of 2019, the trustees started to prepare their detailed strategic brief setting out the requirements for the new building, which was the first of the eight stages in the design process specified by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA stage 0). Then architects were engaged to complete RIBA stages 1 and 2, which is where we are now.
The trustees are now engaged in a wide-ranging consultation process with all sections of the community. Further detailed planning will take place before a planning application is submitted and applications will be made for grants to support this process.
Nothing has been rushed; the trustees are proceeding carefully and methodically.
Q. The building seems large for a small village. Why does the Carnon Downs Drama Group require a dedicated auditorium, and should it not be built in Carnon Downs?
A. CDDG has had its home in Perranwell for over a quarter of a century, so it very much belongs in our village. The name of the drama group is very much its brand and identity, and it is well renowned, so it would be hard to change. It is one of the key activities for children and young people in the village, and one that we do not want to lose.
The theatre and auditorium will not be dedicated solely for the use of the drama group. Like almost every other part of the new building, it will be a shared facility, which will be available for many other events, such as regular dances, performances by the school, concerts, exhibitions, visiting drama productions, etc. It will be the primary large space in the new building for a wide variety of social events.
At present, when the main hall is laid out for other events, concurrent sports activities must be cancelled, often for several days at a time. The existence of a separate theatre and auditorium will allow the sports hall to continue in use when the theatre and auditorium are being used.
Q. The Ruth Collins Legacy left half the money to build an Age UK centre and half towards its maintenance. How will that work with a shared room which seems to be built more for the football club with a bar?
A. Age UK Cornwall and the football club were both fully consulted about theirrequirements and both are very happy to share a facility, which has been designed to reflect equal usage. Both parties have agreed that they are unlikely to need the room at the same time. The football club gets a bar, and Age UK Cornwall gets a large, dedicated storage area for its furniture and equipment. Both organisations will have access to the main kitchen, which has been designed to serve not only the lounge, but also the auditorium.
Age UK are particularly delighted to invest in the whole project and gain access to a building with a range of facilities, as they will not be confined solely to the Ruth Collins lounge, but will be able to use all the other facilities in the building, such as a medical consultation room and office space. The idea is that as many spaces as possible should be multi-purpose in order to avoid the building being even bigger and more expensive.
The football club have agreed to relinquish the land on which their present clubhouse stands on condition that they can be accommodated in the new building, including a bar, because it is one of their primary income streams. However, their generosity in agreeing to vacate their plot of land is greatly to the advantage of the whole redevelopment.
Q. Will Age UK rent the room out to the Football Club?
A. Age UK are investing the legacy in the redevelopment, but do not wish to be involved in taking bookings for other events. Bookings for the Ruth Collins lounge outside the times when it is used by Age UK Cornwall will be the responsibility of the trustees.
Q. Will a lift be installed in the new building?
A. Yes. It will be located in the foyer near the main entrance.
Q. If energy efficiency is the problem, can you not upgrade the present building?
A. The energy efficiency survey of 2014 indicated that improvements could be made to the building but, even if every single one was implemented, it would make very little difference to the building’s overall energy efficiency performance. It is an inherently leaky structure, both thermally and acoustically.
Moreover, the structural survey that was commissioned in 2018 clearly showed that the timber construction of the building (which was only ever designed as a temporary structure but has lasted 50 years) would not carry the extra weight of cladding, never mind building on more rooms.
Therefore, energy efficiency upgrades would not only be largely ineffective, but the building would not be able to support them.
Energy efficiency is not the only problem: poor acoustics, poor lighting, inefficient heating systems, a sprung floor that needs replacing and recently a lot of drainage and plumbing failures. The current building has become increasingly costly and time-consuming to maintain. Modern standards require better facilities.
Q. How will residents who cannot access Zoom be consulted?
A. The availability of Zoom has been extremely helpful, but we fully accept that some people are either not equipped for the digital age or would prefer an alternative form of consultation. Whenever that is the case, the trustees will ensure that suitable means of communication are pursued. For example, some local residents expressed an interest in being consulted outside Zoom meetings and personal meetings were arranged with them.
Q. Who are the architects, signed off as AF and PF?
A. PDP Green Consulting Ltd in Truro is the company and their architects are Antonia and Paul Frondella. The RIBA 8-stage plan of work is being followed.