Mill dream comes one step closer for Corby area villagers

Cottingham and Middleton new village hall hub - The Mill
Cottingham and Middleton new village hall hub - The Mill

Cottingham and Middleton residents’ dreams of a new village hall are nearer to reality with the latest phase of a long-term project.

The new hall got planning permission in August last year, 15 years since the idea of building a new meeting hub was suggested.

A plan showing the playfield

A plan showing the playfield

Cottingham and Middleton Village Hall Trust (Northants) trustees have now learned the estimated construction cost could be as high as £1.3m.

To focus efforts on fundraising, the hall has been named The Mill.

Pete Bowman, chairman of the trustees, said: “Because we’re entering this new phase for the project, we felt we needed a new name for the hall – one that would reflect its location and also its surrounding heritage.

“The name is inspired by the old water mill in Mill Road which was a favourite of the late Keith Allsop, who kickstarted the new hall project over 15 years ago.

Cottingham and Middleton new village hall hub - The Mill

Cottingham and Middleton new village hall hub - The Mill

“As the entrance to the new hall will be on Mill Road, the name also ties in nicely with its location and we hope ‘The Mill’ will eventually become a vibrant and active hub for the whole community.”

The project has been supported with new logo designs by Charles Freestone of Wow Design in Middleton.

The Mill is designed for a wide range of activities, including functions, meetings, music, stage shows, badminton, wellbeing and fitness.

Pete added: “The Mill will be whatever you want to make it and we believe it’s going to be a fantastic resource for the whole community for generations to come.”

Trustees held a fete on Saturday, July 6, to launch their Buy-a-Brick initiative.

Villagers bought bricks for £5 each, raising an estimated £800 to £900.

Tony Freeman, deputy chairman of the trust, said: “It was a really successful event. Many people bought more than one brick, some people buying four or five.

“I felt very positive by the end of the day and it will be worth it when we have our new village hall.”

Plans for a new hall were originally discussed in 2003 with a scheme – overseen by the newly formed Middleton Village Hall Trust - to locate the hall at the entrance to Glover Court in Middleton.

The hall was to be partially funded by Section 106 monies from Glover Court’s developers Faircloughs, with contributions from Corby Council, Northamptonshire County Council, Middleton Parish Council and Corus Steel.

Following consultation with villagers and feedback from the Cottingham Parish Plan and Middleton Parish Plan, it was decided that the hall should be a joint venture.

Subsequent feedback identified that villagers would prefer to have the new hall on or near Cottingham’s recreation field.

Cottingham and Middleton Village Hall Trust (Northants) was formed in 2007, when the location for the new hall would be on the Village Acre, next to the recreation field, on the corner of Mill Road, Cottingham.

The Village Acre is currently held in trust on behalf of Cottingham villagers by the Village Hall Management Committee, which runs the existing village hall - an annex attached to Cottingham Primary School.

The site has a covenant dating from 1971, stating that it ‘shall not be used for any purpose other than the erection of a village hall’, making it the logical location.

Final plans were drawn up after considerable consultation with North Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit and Corby Council (CBC), and a planning application was submitted in November 2017.

The application was approved unanimously in August 2018.

Now in its fundraising phase, the project leaders are looking to start initial works on the site’s entrance by August 2020.