Extract from Inveraray Community Hall Public Consultation, August 2023-March 2024

Published: 14th May 2024

Summary

• Inspire Inveraray appointed Glic to determine and formalise the opinions of the local community with regards to the town’s disused community hall and future management and/or development of the site.
• Five options were developed and presented through a community consultation in January 2024.
• 156 individuals from the local area responded to the consultation, either in- person or through online feedback. With comparison to previous consultation in the area, this indicates that the community is highly engaged in the project and feel invested in future developments to the hall and site.
• Analysis of responses to the consultation shows that rebuilding the community hall on its current site is the preferred option for the community of Inveraray.
• Should this option be unfeasible, rank analysis shows only small margins between the first, second and third options of preference, and the overwhelming sentiment of the community is to “just do something”.
• The community’s second preference is to build a new community hall on a new site, and the third preference is to renovate the current hall.
• Practically, a feasibility study should now be conducted for the first preference, to determine the viability of demolishing the current building and constructing a new community hall on its site.

Five presented options

• The 107 valid responses were analysed as appropriate for ranked choice voting (see Methodology). Through this analysis, it was found that the community sees rebuilding on the current site (option C) to be the preferred option for Inveraray Community Hall.
• The full order of preference (most to least preferable) is as follows:
• 1st Rebuild on the current site (option C)
2nd Rebuild on a new site (option D)
3rd Renovate the current hall (option B)
• 4th Demolish the current hall (option E)
• 5th Sell the hall and site (option A)

The Nicoll Hall

• Response to the consultation showed that the local population would like the neighbouring Nicoll Hall to be maintained and excluded in any plans for demolition. Not only do many respondents feel a strong sense of emotion and nostalgia for the building, but it is considered functional for its current use by the senior citizens group that manages it.
• New or renovated community hall facilities may lead the Nicoll Hall to become disused in the future. As the community has shown desire for a local heritage museum, the Nicoll Hall could change function to serve this purpose in the future, thus maintaining the space while aligning its purpose with the sentiment expressed for the building. It could become a small income-generating facility in this capacity, and our consultation suggested that curating local history collections and archives may be of specific interest to the groups that currently use it.

Summary discussion and recommendations

The ranking exercise shows that, of the options presented, the community of Inveraray would like to gain a new community hall on the current site. If this option is deemed unfeasible, the community’s second preference is towards a new community hall built on a new site, with an outdoor community space erected on the site of the current hall. If neither of these options are feasible, the community’s third preference is for the current hall to be maintained, renovated and refurbished.

Practical next steps

Glic recommends that, if Inspire Inveraray is to take forward the community’s first preference for the space – to demolish and rebuild a community hall on the current site – a comprehensive feasibility study will be needed. To commission and complete this, funding in the region of £15-25k would be required. This study would need to:
• Determine legal ownership and authority Inspire Inveraray has regarding the physical building and land situation
• Complete a costed options appraisal for the layout and design of the new facility to meet current and future community needs. This would require input from architects and quantity surveyors
• Develop a business plan that shows a viable route forward including income- generating activities, costs and ongoing management activities
• Agree appropriate governance structures that provide the best basis to carry out the development and subsequent operations of a new community hall.

Full Report available on request, please email: director@inspireinveraray.scot