Public Information Event
Update on Design and Plans
Thanks to everyone who came along to our public information event at 191 St John’s Road (Corstorphine Hub) on 5th April. It was obvious that local people have a strong sense of involvement with the rebuild project, and some very interesting and in some cases unexpected questions came from an audience of around 50.
Susan Stephen, the architect responsible for drawing up the rebuilding plans which have now been submitted to the City of Edinburgh Council, gave a presentation in which she highlighted the significant features, illustrated on an accompanying video which showed the new building in 3d. The footprint of the building remains largely as it was before, and the facade facing on to Kirk Loan is to be retained in the same form, but a new main entrance is part of a small one-storey extension on the Saughton Road North side. Susan explained that this new section would be built using glass and light coloured panelling and would house a new reception area adjacent to the new kitchen. The exterior at this side was shown as being mostly finished in traditional rendering but she said this was a worst case scenario and more of the stonework would be retained if possible. An upper floor would extend for the whole length of the main building.
Following comments by David Sutherland of the Public Hall Company on the current financial situation and from Tommy McLean of the Rebuild sub-committee and the CYC committee about expectations for occupancy of the building, the meeting was thrown open for questions from the audience.
A local resident queried the effect the rebuild would have on the outlook from his property, and Susan pointed out that the height of the roof would remain the same as before. The next question concerned road safety around the new entrance. The pavements are very narrow nearby, and it can be difficult to cross the road so close to the corner with the High Street. However, the plan is that there will be a way into the grounds from Kirk Loan and a footpath from there round the building to the new entrance.
Further questions were about the changed position of the kitchen in the building, and the feasibility of playing badminton in the large hall with the reduced ceiling height. Regarding the kitchen, it is being moved to be closer to the large hall but not to open into it, which it is hoped will allow for maximum flexibility in the use of both spaces. Unfortunately it is not anticipated that badminton will be possible, but the height will be sufficient for some other sports including table-tennis.
There were two further audience questions regarding the future use of the building, one to do with the acoustics and one about computer use and wiring. These aspects will be considered in more detail once the interior fitting out is being worked on. It is hoped that the lower ceiling in the large hall will help with the acoustics.
The event concluded with the opportunity to chat more informally and to look at the large print-outs of the plans displayed around the Hub walls.
You Asked – We Answered…..
Top 5 Questions
These are the top 5 questions people have asked us so far about the rebuild and its local impact.
Q1. Will the height of the new building affect the outlook from one of the surrounding properties?
A. The roof will be restored to its former height during the rebuild, so there should be no difference to anyone’s outlook.
Q2. Might it be better to move the position of the kitchen in the new building so that it would open off the main hall?
A. Various options for siting the kitchen were considered as the plans were being drawn up, and although its planned new position is separated from both the main hall and the small hall, it is thought there are advantages in this. For instance, the kitchen will be available for use independently of either hall and could be used in conjunction with the new reception area as a café or space for refreshments for an event taking place anywhere in the building.
Q3. Are there road safety concerns about situating the new main entrance on Saughton Road North where the pavement is dangerously narrow?
A. Although the main entrance to the building will be at the side facing on to Saughton Road North, it is envisaged that most people will enter via the old Kirk Loan gateway and walk round to the new entrance on a new path.
Q4. Is the new ceiling height in the large hall going to affect the variety of sports that can be played in the space?
A. Yes, as we will have a new second floor above the main hall, it will unfortunately no longer be possible to play badminton. We have been assured however that the ceiling will still be high enough for league level table tennis. This is just one of several quite difficult decisions that have had to be made during the design process.
Q5. Will the acoustics be better than in the previous building?
A.Yes, we hope that the new second floor will result in better acoustics than before in the main hall, which will benefit any group that uses it for lectures, drama or music, among other activities.
Special thanks to everyone who came along to our Public Information Evening in April 2016.