The Elgar Centre has now been opened at the Upton development, which is the next development along from the one where I live. The centre was designed and built exclusively by the developers and was finished before Christmas. Unfortunately it has taken a further 4-5 months to get a management committee together from local residents. There are some good things and some less well thought through things about the centre.
It is designed to a high standard, built from stone and wood. A lot of the power is environmentally friendly with a wind turbine in the park and some solar panels on the roof. The heating has air-source heat pumps which apparently work in the opposite way to a fridge, and each room has underfloor heating too. The South aspect has large windows onto most of the rooms (shown above covered with their shutters) which look out over the adjacent playing fields and country park.
Inside there is a largeish hall and a smaller meeting room. The larger hall has a smaller room attached with is separated by sliding doors, however, this room doesn’t have any windows of it’s own so I struggle to see what you might want to use it for except with the doors open to the larger hall.
My main problem with the centre is that the kitchen doesn’t join onto the main or smaller hall. Most events want some sort of catering, even if it is simply tea and coffee. A kitchen with a hatch would have been useful, as it is, the kitchen is down the corridor in the main foyer area.
The smaller hall is a good size for small presentations or board-room type meetings. It too has sliding doors into another room but I think this other room is going to be used as the management office so can can’t envisage when the doors would be open. Both the small and large halls have plug sockets on the ceiling ready for the installation of audio visual equipment.
In the centre is a foyer area with the kitchen and a hatch. As I said earlier the kitchen should have opened up into one of the larger halls but the foyer is still quite a flexible space. It is currently decked out with tables and chairs and a couple of comfy sofas. I could see it being used as a daytime coffee shop as there is no other public space like this on the Upton estate.
Downstairs there are three sets of changing rooms (again, built to a high standard) and a referees room. There will be some football pitches on the adjoining park and the committee have already approached a local football league about hiring them and using the changing rooms. This is great if it happens but I am unconvinced about having so many sets of changing rooms in our own forthcoming community centre.