Fire-hit Corstorphine Public Hall venue to be rebuilt with added space

An artist's impression of the new Corstorphine Public Hall. Picture: contributed
An artist's impression of the new Corstorphine Public Hall. Picture: contributed
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FRESH images have been unveiled showcasing the planned regeneration of a fire-hit community centre in the Capital.

Corstorphine Public Hall was reduced to charred wreckage after becoming engulfed by a blaze in October 2013.

Now community leaders have lodged detailed proposals to rebuild the much-loved facility.

Ambitious designs show increased space for local groups, as well as a new main entrance, new kitchens and an extension to the west.

Meanwhile, a masonic lodge will be based on the upper level, alongside a warden’s flat across the first and second floors.

In a design brief, Susan Stephen Architects said the blueprints sought to “reinforce the original character of the hall, retaining stone walls where structurally possible”.

And the firm insisted the aim was to “encourage use” of the building, making it an “inclusive meeting space within the community” once more.

It said: “[The hall] was a great loss to the community and the many groups which used the building on a daily basis had to be relocated throughout Corstorphine.

“Since the fire, the insurance claim has been settled and designs developed for a larger, new, more flexible building on the same site.

“All of the groups who have had to find alternative accommodation together with some new groups are committed to helping the community work towards the rebuilding and are keen to return to a much improved dynamic new home.”

The firm added: “The new design provides a facility fit for the 21st century.”

Hall bosses are now seeking to raise £700,000 to secure the long-term revamp of the building.

Robert Hyder, secretary at Corstorphine Public Hall Company, said around £1.2 million in funds was already either in the bank or promised by 
investors.

He said the new facility would be “more flexible” for community groups, as well as offering “more usable space”.

He added: “We are sticking essentially to the original footprint – except there’s a wee bit of an extension.

“Most of the people who used the premises before want to get back in there. They can’t wait to get back in. Although many did find alternative accommodation, they didn’t find it as suitable as before.

“And there’s a whole lot of other groups who would also want to use it if the space was available.”

It is believed around 500 individuals were regularly using Corstorphine Public Hall before it was destroyed in the blaze.

Dramatic pictures taken during and after the devastating fire show the extent of the damage, with the main structure completely destroyed and still without a roof to this day.

The building, which is in the Corstorphine Conservation Area, began life as a public hall in 1892, before operating as the Corstorphine Youth and Community Centre since 1980.

It is understood the flames which ripped through the facility three years ago started in the library section, which was added in 1903 and funded by Andrew Carnegie.

Earlier this year, Lord Provost Donald Wilson gave his backing to the community drive to salvage and rebuild the centre.