Restoration of Warham Reading Room begins
Following a great deal of hard work by a number of very committed villagers, work on the restoration and extension of Warham Reading Room has started on site on the 28th September, with completion expected in early February 2016.
Planning approval for the building’s restoration was granted in September 2014, while funding has recently been granted by the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching community’s programme.
Opened in 1892, the Reading Room (above) has been a strong presence in the village. Its use has declined, particularly in recent years with the building requiring modernisation, but the improvements and extensions will revive its use and secure the buildings future.
Architect Rachel Harmer said, “The community has been very involved; we had very good feedback when we presented the design via a projection screen in the hall, to a full house of villagers. Using a 3D model as well as slides of the drawings people could see the proposed end result. Groups of villagers have worked hard to clear the hall and site ready for the works.”
The proposals are sensitive to the existing building and palette of materials, to complement the existing hall but add a flexible, functional and modern space. The use of timber, large sliding folding doors and a minimal profile canopy, open the extension up to the grounds to the rear.
A green roof has been added, not only for environmental reasons, but to ensure the neighbouring properties have a better view, than looking out onto a more traditional roof finish.
Timber cladding is used to the rear, fixed in a traditional board on board manor, using western red cedar so it will mellow in time.
“It was important for the community to have a larger and warmer space, with better sanitary, kitchen and storage facilities and the ability to use the hall for larger groups and events or smaller meetings. By opening up the main hall, via existing openings into the extension this has been achieved, and the proposed kitchen is light and spacious with a connection to the hall spaces.” Rachel Harmer
Access and parking will be improved with new paving and level access so the hall can be enjoyed by all.
There is now a community web site where details and progress of the restoration and extension will be posted to keep the villagers informed.