Building type Civic
Building age post 2000
Location Bruisyard
Cost of work £ 260,000
District Suffolk Coastal
Features Solar Hot Water Heating,Air Source Heat Pumps,Insulation and Glazing

Bruisyard is a rural village of ~175 residents about 4 miles from Framlingham and Saxmundham. Until the village hall was completed in December 2009, Bruisyard had no shop, pub or any other public building other than the local grade 1 listed parish church. Public transport in the area is also very limited. The need for a village hall was identified through the consultation process which led to the publication of the Parish Plan in 2005. The key requirements were

(i) that it should be environmentally and financially sustainable,

(ii) meet the needs of existing clubs/associations in the area and help support and foster new clubs and self-help groups,

(iii) be easily accessible by all in the community, and

(iv) be architecturally in-keeping with the surroundings.

A village hall committee was formed in 2006 as a sub-committee of the Parish Council. The committee selected a local architect to design the hall and the main contractor was selected after a competitive tendering process. All funding needed to build the hall was secured by February 2009 and construction started in March 2009. The building was completed in December 2009.

Sustainability Features

The village hall has been built on the Parish Park in the centre of the village. This land, measuring about 1 acre, was acquired by the Parish Council in 1995 and was previously waste ground for storing old farm machinery. Since 1995, the Parish Council has transformed this land into an attractive Parish Park which has been widely used by both residents and visitors to the village. The Parish Park was an ideal location for building the hall as ~43% of the residents of village live within ¼ mile radius and therefore easily accessible by foot or cycle for the able-bodied. The Parish Park is also on the Suffolk Coastal cycle path.

 The village hall has been built to the highest energy conservation standards: it has an energy performance certificate rating of ‘A’ and an air-tightness measurement of only 1.08 M3 per hour per M2. This has been achieved by very high levels of thermal insulation, 3 solar panels for water heating, an underfloor heating system using a Daikin Altherma 11kW air-source heat pump (ASHP) giving a 4:1 energy efficiency gain and a heat exchanger on the ventilation system. The solar panels and ASHP condenser are mounted on the south facing roof elevation to maximise efficiency. To optimise natural lighting and heating from solar gain, there are large glazed areas on the south facing side of the building and minimal glazed areas facing north. The policy adopted on construction was that all materials should be sourced locally (ie. within a radius of 25 miles) if at all possible. In addition, the use of cement in the construction has been kept to a minimum.


Design Process

Several design consultation events were held with residents during the design process to make sure that the views of residents and potential user groups were fully taken into account. The hall has been designed to have the architectural appearance of a traditional Suffolk barn with timber cladding over a brick and block construction and a Suffolk pantile roof. The hall has a total a total floor area of ~150sqm and consists of a multifunction hall (80.6sqm), entrance hall (11.2sqm), kitchen (18.5sqm), WCs (male, female, disabled). The multifunction hall seats up to 70 people for a dinner event and up to 90 in a lecture format. The hall has been designed for easy access and use by the disabled. An induction loop system has also been fitted for the hard of hearing. The kitchen has been fully equipped for commercial catering with a commercial dishwasher, range cooker, fridge etc. A car park for 22 cars plus disabled car spaces has been constructed on land adjoining the Parish Park giving safe and easy access into the hall.

Suffolk Coastal District Council planning department were consulted throughout the design phase. Planning permission was submitted in August 2007 and granted in October 2007.



The following grants were awarded;

  • The Big Lottery Fund, Community Buildings Programme (March 2008 – £187,218)
  • Suffolk County Council, Corporate Regeneration Fund (July 2008 – £20,000)
  • Suffolk Coastal District Council, Capital Grant Aid (Aug 2008 – £10,000)
  • ScottishPower Green Energy Trust (Dec 2008 – £9825)
  • Suffolk Environmental Trust (Feb 2009 – £27,325)
  • The Garfield Weston Foundation (Feb 2009 – £5000)
  • Bruisyard Social Amenities Committee (£3000)
  • Suffolk County Council Locality Budget (£2000)
  • Alde Community Council (£250)
  • Bruisyard Parish Council (£300)
  • Donations from residents (£1300)


Green Lifestyle

We hope that the building acts as a reference model for other village halls/community centres to adopt a green lifestyle by delivering the benefits of a flexible building which meets the needs of all in the community, has minimal environmental impact, the lowest possible ongoing running costs, and is architecturally very attractive.



The hall has been independently assessed as having an Energy Performance Rating of A and an air-tightness measurement of only 1.08 M3 per hour per M2. The hall is now in its first year of operation and the energy use is being monitored to see if it delivers the projected benefits.


Suppliers and Professional Services Used

Architect: CBM Smith & Partners

Main contractor: Simmons Builders Ltd

Solar Panels and Air Source Heat Pump supplied by Ecowarm Heating Systems Ltd, Bury St Edmunds



Shortlisted under the Greenest Community category for the Creating the Greenest County Award 2010.