I was talking today with a potential client of Lucas Hickman Smith, who leads a community group which (if all goes according to plan) will commission us to help them replace their worn-out village hall with a new community facility, similar to The Pennoyer Centre (which I discussed in a previous post). Our future client has been interested to read about community pubs and shops on Ruralise, as the pub in their village has finally closed after a long period of decline. Whilst the loss of the pub is clearly regretted in the village, its demise is not all bad news for the village hall project.
The local ‘spend’ in the pub was evidently not enough to keep it alive, but there was still some spend, and the village hall project team clearly believes this might be captured as revenue for the new facility. With the energised management of a new community venture, more emphasis on events, and costs ‘geared’ by some volunteer labour and a not-for-profit tax structure, replacing the village pub might be a practical proposition…if not one that appeals to our romantic notion of the role which the pub plays at the heart of a village.
In earlier posts I’ve suggested that a Community Right to Build project might need to find a new, more palatable name for ‘affordable homes’, and mused on whether a community pub/shop could be called a ‘shub’ or a ‘pop’. But now I’m wondering what you might call a cross between a village hall and a pub. And this isn’t entirely hypothetical. We’re just finalising the programme for the Festival of Architecture for Norwich and Norfolk (FANN-XI) and I have to confirm the headline description for each of the talks in the ‘Perspectives’ event I’m organising. The Pennoyer Centre will be presented (on Tuesday 11th October) by LHS director Terry Hickman Smith and Chair of the Pennoyer Centre Charity Sheila Moss-King. Seeing my draft of the intro for the talk, Sheila asked:
And could we not be a community centre, please? It smells of carbolic soap and village halls. We’re a multi-use centre for education, business & the community. Not so snappy, I’ll grant you…so you may wish to rise to the challenge of capturing that in fewer words.
Answers on a postcard please!