Orpington's new village hall 'setting precedent' for town
Residents are to benefit from a £3million village hall which is hoped to 'set a precedent' for the regeneration of a whole town.
The brand new Orpington Village Hall, in High Street, was opened by MP Jo Johnson last Thursday and Warren Road Primary School Choir provided the entertainment.
The public-private five-storey building was a collaboration between the Orpington Village Hall Trust charity and Town and Country Housing Group who have built flats above the hall.
Community groups will be able to hire the two halls, meeting room and kitchen on the first floor which will be available for conferences, social events and theatre productions while there will be a restaurant on the ground floor and affordable housing on the top three storeys.
Orpington Village Hall Trust chairman, Mike Smart, 64, said: “We have realised a dream. We had a building that was not fit for purpose and now we’ve got state-of-the-art halls within the gateway to Orpington.”
The first Orpington village hall was built at the other end of the High Street in 1890 by Alfred Brown and during the First and Second World Wars it acted as a hospital and a refuge for people made homeless by the conflicts.
The original building was burnt down in 1962. In the following years, the old site was sold and another building constructed in 1982. That was demolished in 2008 to regenerate the site when plans for the Orpington Village Hall forged.
Orpington MP Jo Johnson said: “Everybody can get together in a great public space. It is going to be a great bonus. It will make a real difference to everybody who lives here.”
The Trust received no council funding. There are 19 one, two and three bedroom flats, of which 15 will be available for people on Bromley council’s housing register.
Trust vice-chair Paul Cavalli, 57, said: “It’s been two years of hard work which have been fraught. It’s a massive project for us and getting it to come together was not easy. The building is really nice. We will be able to help smaller charities now.”