Parish Hall

- Residential Conversion - 

The site is located in the jurisdiction of the New Forest National Park and forms part of an early 20th century planned development of individual, detached villas. It was built on land which originally formed part of the parkland belonging to the Northerwood Estate; this was sold in the 1890s to a famous publisher, and W.H. Roger's guide to the New Forest, published in the early 1900s, stated that the owner sold off part of the land for "the erection of a number of detached houses, making the area a beautiful miniature garden city." Most of the properties had independent architects to design them, a number reflecting the Arts & Crafts ethos of the period. The development is a fine, unaltered example of Arts & Crafts design and detailing, including the use of traditional vernacular materials.

We were approached by our client to assist with their ambitious scheme: to convert the parish hall for residential use. The church hall had since been moved due to new, purpose-built facilities being built across town, and a new use needed to be found for the property. A previous application to turn it into a dance hall had been refused, and so our client was anxious to secure their offer on the property by showing that their residential conversion would be a viable proposition. Several buyers had expressed their interest and had entered into offers on the property. Our team had three days, without a site visit, to produce what amounted to a competition entry that would accompany our client's offer. The bid was successful. Our client then approached us for design proposals.

The character of the building has been maintained and our design proposals serve to strengthen the original finishes, spaces and features. The 1960s extension to the front of the building has been demolished, and a beautifully hand-crafted double-leafed door forms part of the new entrance and lobby area which, externally, continues the rhythm generated by the buttresses. 

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