The Britannia Village Hall, operated by the West Silvertown Village Community Foundation, is the hub and heart of the Britannia Village in Silvertown, East London. It provides a place where there are daily supervised groups for toddlers, children and young people and a host of social and sports activities for everyone in the community.
The building was originally built as part of a large-scale housing development in the 1980s, a concession the developers had to make to the local authority to obtain planning permission. With no real community to respond to, this is was a project driven by top-down legislation rather than community needs. As a result, the building has the air of an afterthought and was never well-equipped to respond to the changing requirements of the community groups that would eventually use it.
After nearly four decades, it has now come to the end of its lifespan. Moreover, the two-storey building makes poor use of a site that is located in an area with an intense and growing need for affordable housing. Add to this the recent cuts in central Government funding for community programs, and it becomes apparent that the Foundation’s real estate asset can be instrumental in providing a financially sustainable long-term future for the West Silvertown Village Community.
We assisted the Foundation in weighing up the needs of different user groups and testing out different massing models each of which applied to a different economic scenario. This required us to help our client understand and navigate the interplay of property values, planning constraints and land rights.
We helped the Foundation develop a robust plan that will enable them to attract private funding to transform the site into a state-of-the-art community facility, while simultaneously providing housing that will generate sufficient income to fund its ongoing and future community programs.