The Trustees are extremely grateful to all those who have worked so hard to support retention of the hall.
Circumstances have allowed the Town Council to reconsider their withdrawal of a promise made to extend the lease and to fund work on the windows.
We will be sharing with the Town Council proposals for further improvements to the hall and will be seeking some assistance with funding from them and from other funds that will become available to us.
Planned work on the windows, wall insulation, re-cladding and redecoration, all of which have been on ‘hold’ for over a year, can now be put into action.
The U-turn of June 2022 had returned the Trustees to the position of meeting their repair obligations under the current lease. Accordingly a contractor has been appointed to repair and refurbish the windows. This is work which does not require conservation planning approval and will return the windows to full working order in all their "1950's glory".
The cost for this is lower than 50% of the figure for new windows as quoted to the Council this year. The work is to take place in the first weeks of January.
Although the Council has now not ratified (de-ratified?) that reversal, for which we are very grateful, we are committed to a contractor. This does of course release the funds previously committed by the Council and we look forward to a sympathetic re-allocation of them!
The hire of Druitt Hall in 2022 so far is averaging 33.5 hours per week and we have not increased hire rates since January 2021. There are 20 regular hirers and a number of recurring short-term hirers, plus various one-off family parties and the like. DHCA have supported all hirers in coping with the recurring effect of Covid restrictions, ensuring that the facility was available for safe use on EVERY occasion permitted by Government guidance.
Time was also allowed to hirers to carry out their own specific Covid measures, amounting to a further 16% of use of the hall given without charge. This will cease from 1st December.
The estimated annual footfall at the hall stands at 17,000 visitors.
Finally, a personal statement from me as a chartered surveyor and admirer and respecter of the efforts made to originally provide the hall. Misleading and inaccurate assertions have been made about the building, often by people who have not visited the facility for years. .
I encourage the Trustees, in cooperation with the Town Council, to make further improvements to bring this facility to an even higher and exemplary standard of sustainable public service and environmental and healthy performance. This will sit well with the Town Council's declaration of a climate emergency.
I ask the wider public to encourage and support the Town Council to both respect and reinforce the legacy of the Druitt family, especially the spirit of the original covenants intended to protect the valuable Druitt Gardens.