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The Cornerstone Project

The Cornerstone Project - Overview

 

The Redevelopment of Mayfield and Easthouses Church to form a Community Hub which includes:

Flexible Meeting Space, Community Cafe, Training Kitchen and Soft Play Area

 

1.1 Introduction

The church was opened in 1955 to provide a place for community activities and worship for the rapid expanding community of Mayfield and Easthouses. The building was originally conceived as a ‘hall-church’- a multipurpose building used for community activities from Monday to Saturday and worship on a Sunday. At one end of the building was a stage (used for performances and amateur dramatic productions), a large hall used for coffee mornings, Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade etc., and a small chancel separated by curtains that was opened out for services on a Sunday. 

 

The congregation’s vision is to return the building to its original purpose, albeit with a 21st century twist!  It is to see the building reconfigured into a community hub offering a cafe facility, soft play area and flexible accommodation suitable for a variety of purposes including for example, play and nursery groups, youth and senior citizen organisations, as well as church services and a variety of other activities.

Central to the vision is the church as a place of hospitality and welcome at the heart of the community. It is intended that the cafe facility will be developed to offer employment training, healthy eating courses, as well as a place where people can meet in a safe, comfortable environment where alcohol is not served.

Like many post war housing developments Mayfield and Easthouses includes significant pockets of urban deprivation. Whilst the congregation’s activities are already deeply embedded within the life of the community, the proposed redevelopment offers the opportunity to deliver a modern, sustainable facility which is fit for purpose, has a low carbon footprint and has the potential to make a significant contribution to the well-being of the local community.

2.1 Needs analysis

To identify needs and shape the plans for redevelopment of the church building, we consulted with

Existing user groups

Community representatives

Local councillors

Midlothian Council staff and agencies

Community organisations and volunteer agencies

Members of the congregation

and referred to the following reports and data:

Mayfield and Easthouses community Futures Neighbourhood Plan 2012-2017.

Statistical information from the “Profile of Midlothian 2011.” (Midlothian Council)

Scotland’s Census 2011

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 2012

The Mayfield and Easthouses Community Futures Neighbourhood Plan 2012-2017 identifies a number of specific needs, priorities and actions which capture the community’s key areas of concern, need and desire for improvement. A number of the issues identified in the plan, (see below), are consistent with the feedback we received from our consultations with community representatives, local councillors, Midlothian Council staff and community groups which use the church facilities. The redevelopment plan seeks to address a number of identified needs and is closely aligned with the Neighbourhood Plan.

 

2.2 Families and children

The plan states “......people would like to see a wider diversity of activities for children and young people of all ages and better information about them........family support could be offered more widely through more parent and toddler groups, playgroups, summer schools and a range of training opportunities in parenting skills.”

Main priorities include

Providing more activities for young children

Providing more family support

Improving play spaces for children of all ages

 

2.3 Community facilities, services and activities

The plan states “......many people say they would like a better quality and more accessible community hub: a place which provides a welcoming meeting space, cafe, and area to organise different activities......it is important to build and maintain community support networks to prevent older people becoming isolated and vulnerable.”

 

2.4 Employment and the economy

The plan states “..........ongoing work to help young people and adults benefit from training and employment opportunities...........It is particularly important that young people are drawn into this as the level of youth unemployment locally is a great cause for concern.....”

Main priorities include

More training in skills for young people/more apprenticeship opportunities

More employment preparation and opportunities for young people.

2.5 Townscape and the built environment

The plan states “....Sadly, Mayfield town centre lacks a sense of place; it could and should be the heart of the community, a place that people want to be – thriving, bustling, lively, imaginative...”

Main priorities include

A new role for the town centre

Clean up streets and overgrown gardens

3.1 Key outcomes

The project will deliver the following outcomes:

Community relationships and support networks will be strengthened.

People living in Mayfield and Easthouses will have improved access to social and cultural activities in a safe, welcoming environment.

Social isolation will be reduced and support in addressing social deprivation will be enhanced, by provision of improved access to support services such as debt management services, food bank services, Citizens’ Advice and Welfare Rights.

The variety of community based activities will be broadened.

The number of activities for families with young children will be increased.

Volunteer opportunities will be enhanced.

The buildings sustainability will be increased and its carbon footprint reduced.

Energy efficiency awareness will be increased amongst facility’s uses and wider community.

The townscape will be enhanced and the plan to regenerate of the town centre will be supported.

The provision of a community hub and cafe will provide a welcoming, easy to access meeting point for people of all ages, located in the centre of the town, immediately adjacent to local bus routes and with ample parking.

The cafe will be operational Monday to Friday and provide simple, healthy “home-cooked” meals and snacks at affordable prices.

The church premises are already used by a range of community groups but the demand for affordable meeting spaces from community groups continues to grow. The provision of a refurbished facility offering a flexible range of meeting space types and sizes would encourage and support the further development of community organisations and community based activities.

The plans include a soft play area which will provide a safe environment for young children to play whilst being supervised by their parents/carers from the cafe area where they can relax and socialize with friends and neighbours.

The kitchen facility will be used to support the provision of healthy eating cookery courses and to run training courses for those who wish to gain experience and skills in catering as an aid to either directly accessing employment in the catering industry or securing a place on the appropriate college course.   

The church is a landmark building located in the centre of the town. In planning the redevelopment of the church building, the congregation has sought to complement the vision for the regeneration and enhancement of the town centre as expressed in the “Mayfield and Easthouses Community Futures Neighbourhood plan 2012-2017”.

4.1 Proposal

In March 2013 the congregation appointed architects Angus Design Associates Ltd to carry out a feasibility study and options appraisal for the redevelopment of the Mayfield and Easthouses Church.

 Key inputs to the study were the congregation’s stated vision and the needs identified during the community consultation phase of the project.

Through the Summer and Autumn of 2013 an iterative process of draft proposals, feedback and refinement resulted in the plans being submitted to Midlothian Council in November 2013, seeking outline planning permission.

In February 2014, outline planning permission was received for the proposed redevelopment.

The key features of the proposed redevelopment are:

Reconfiguration of internal layout to create flexible, mutli-use space which can be subdivided or combined to create a range of areas for simultaneous use by multiple groups.

New suite of toilet facilities including disabled toilet and baby changing facilities.

New kitchen facility of size and standard for use in commercial food preparation and training

Creation of a cafe/lounge space.

Installation of soft play area.

Upgrading of heating system, windows, lighting and insulation to improve the energy efficiency of the building and to reduce its carbon footprint.

Complete rewiring.

Upgrading of disabled access facilities.

Upgrading and landscaping of external areas.

The cost of the redevelopment is estimated to be in the region of £700,000-£750,000 which presents a major financial undertaking for the congregation.  

Mindful of the significant sums involved and the dependency on successfully securing funding support for the project, the architect was asked to include proposals for the phasing of the redevelopment, enabling work to commence and progress to be made on an incremental basis in delivering the redeveloped facilities.

This has the advantage of allowing the community to benefit from the new facilities on a step by step basis while not exposing the congregation to an unacceptable level of financial risk

 

5.1 More information

For more information about any aspect of the project, please contact: Rev Sean Swindells, Parish Minister

6.1 Supporting Documents:

The Mayfield and Easthouses Community Futures Neighbourhood Plan 2012-2017