The newly-refurbished Westgate Community Hall in the city centre has been shortlisted for an award by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. It is among eight buildings in the south east nominated in the community benefit category of the contest. Once threatened with demolition, the former 1920s drill hail in Westgate Hall Road was saved through the formation of a community trust. It underwent an £800,000 major building programme over three years to upgrade the facilities, largely funded with a £344,497 grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government and £325,000 investment by Curzon Cinemas, which has leased part of the building. Chartered surveyors Paul and Angela Mallion, who run Canterbury-based Conker Conservation, managed the project with the help of architect Tim Ellis. Mr Mallion said:
“In many ways it was a difficult building to work with to maximise its space and usage and it presented us with quite a challenge. The RICS Awards are quite prestigious, so to be shortlisted is something of an achievement in itself. I just hope that when the judges come down they also speak to the trustees who have been quite magnificent in dedicating their free time to the project.”
The category winners will be chosen at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking on May 14 and will compete against other entrants from across the UK at the RICS Awards in October.
Herne Bay Gazette, February 26th 2015