THE OLD CHURCH HALL 1921 - 2006
In 1893 the land on which the old hall stood was sold as plot 3a of the Llansannor Court Estate. In 1921 part of the plot was made available to local residents by Mrs J L Leigh of Llansannor House.
Mrs Leigh bought a World War I army hut, which had been used as a field hospital in France, and this was delivered by rail to Ystradowen station. It was transported from there by local farmers with horses and wagons. Local parishioners cleared the site with picks and shovels and re-assembled the hut on it.
The transfer of the plot to local parishioners was effected by means of an Indenture made by Mrs Leigh with the Llandaff Diocesan Trust in 1922. The Indenture defined the purposes as:
some one or more of the following ….. for the benefit mainly but not exclusively of members of the Church of England in the Parish of Llansannor or elsewhere as may be provided in accordance with the trusts hereinafter contained with liberty to vary such purposes from time to time that is to say
A As a site for a Parish Room, Class Room, Meeting or Lecture Room Sunday schools or any such purposes in connection with the work of the Church of England
B The letting of the said hereditaments or any part thereof which may not for the time being be consecrated for any meetings entertainments lectures or other purposes of which the Administrative Trustees may approve
C Any other object end or purpose having in view the spiritual intellectual moral social or bodily wants mainly but not exclusively of the members of the Church of England residing in the said Parish of Llansannor or elsewhere as aforesaid.
The hall was initially referred to as the ‘Parish Room’ but from 1930 it became known as the Church Hall. For 85 years the hall served as the venue for a vast range of local community events and celebrations.
BUILDING THE NEW COMMUNITY HALL 1999 - 2006
At an open meeting in June 1999 the local community resolved to refurbish or replace the existing church hall which was nearly 80 years old and in a very poor state of repair. The church hall site was held in trust by the Llandaff Diocesan Trustees and negotiations were entered into for a leasehold agreement to enable the local community to take over the site.
Llansannor Community Hall Association
In April 2004 a charitable association, the Llansannor Community Hall Association (LCHA), was established to take the project to its final stage. With the formation of the LCHA, the community had a properly constituted organisation that could negotiate formally with the Diocesan Trustees and apply to funding agencies for grants to build the new hall. In January 2006, the LCHA became a Registered Charity (No: 1112822).
Design of the new Hall
Over the summer of 2004 the LCHA committee carried out a questionnaire survey of local residents to establish some guidelines for the hall design. Questionnaires were delivered to every household in Llansannor and 41 completed returns were received, representing 32 households and 81 local residents.
In May 2005 the LCHA appointed a local architect to the project. He produced a series of designs taking into account the findings of the questionnaire survey. An attractive hall design emerged which combined traditional and modern elements - the design contained echoes of the old hall, but in the context of a modern architectural treatment.
A grant awarded by the Vale of Glamorgan Centre for Voluntary Services in April 2005 funded a planning application for the new hall, and planning permission was granted by the Vale Council in September 2005. In July 2005, agreement with the Diocesan Trustees was finally reached on the terms of a 20-year lease on the hall plot. The lease ensures that the new hall is made freely available to the Church on agreed occasions but allows the hall also to serve the wider recreational and other needs of the local community.
By mid 2005 everything was in place to allow the LCHA to apply for funding for the new hall. Successful applications were made to the EU Article 33 fund, administered by Creative Rural Communities on behalf of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), and the Communities Facilities & Amenities Programme, administered by the Rural Regeneration Unit of the WAG. With match funding by the LCHA, a total sum of nearly £220 000 was ultimately raised.
Constructing the Hall
The LCHA went out to tender in January 2006. Due to delays in the award of grants, the appointed contractor could not commence work until 24 April and the terms of the Article 33 award required the project to be completed by the end of August. So, we had just nineteen weeks to remove the old hall and build a new one after seven years of arduous preparatory work!
With sterling work by the contractors and extensive voluntary work by local people, the demolition of the old church hall and its replacement by a new community hall in the short time available to us was successfully achieved.
A Community Hall for Llansannor at last!
Llansannor now has an attractive new hall designed for a wide range of community uses. Its specification meets the very latest building regulations in terms of thermal insulation, disabled access and radon protection. The picture windows at the front of the building provide magnificent views over the scenic valley of the River Thaw. Its external appearance, including the use of wood cladding and local stone, enables it to blend harmoniously into its hillside setting with natural exposures of limestone.
THE HALL GARDEN
The hall occupies a very attractive hillside site containing several mature trees and natural exposures of Carboniferous Limestone. The aim is to develop a safe, low maintenance garden that serves not just as a natural outdoor extension to the hall but also as a recreational facility in its own right for the local community.
Garden development is the responsibility of the LCHA Garden Group. If you are interested in joining the group and helping to develop the new garden please contact a member of the LCHA.
All sorts of skills are needed - and you don't need to be a mountain goat to be useful!
The Hall garden Project was completed in 2010 thanks to grants from Biffaward and the efforts of the garden group.
This has provided an outdoor extension to the facilities of the Hall for fair weather functions. Several patio areas have
been provided along with seating. There has been extensive planting which has vastly improved the overall appearance
of the Hall surroundings. While the overall plan has been to create a low maintenance garden some on-going maintenance
will be necessary especially in the first few years until ground cover plants become established.
A selection of websites of local interest
Churches in Wales A-Z: St Senwyr, Llansannor
UK & Ireland Genealogy (GENUKI)
Llansannor in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Archives Network Wales: Llansannor Civil Parish records
Llansannor C/W Primary School
LAMBS Local History Group
Paintings by Alison Gibbon (Tel 01656 890257), reproduced from Llansannor booklet published in 2000.