The Chantry Centre, a new £1.9 million Community Hub for Billericay and home of Billericay Town Council, has been unveiled and praised as an “exciting and innovative” community focal point to help residents and local clubs return to normal life following lockdown.
The completion of the year long project during the Covid-19 pandemic is being marked by Billericay Town Centre, along with project managers Ingleton Wood and builders A.W.Hardy.
The Chantry Centre, which replaced the old Chantry Way Day Centre, has a large function hall with a kitchen area which will provide indoor space for theatre, cinema clubs and other events which help to minimise social isolation. There are high specification meeting/conference rooms for hire for business and community events and this will also now be the permanent home of Billericay Town Council.
Cllr Adam Adshead, Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee at Billericay Town Council, said: “Replacing the old, dilapidated Chantry Way Day Centre with this incredible modern community building is the result of much hard work by, and great teamwork between Billericay Town Council, Ingleton Wood and A.W.Hardy and I’d like to thank everyone involved.
“We now have a community facility of which we can all be proud as well as a home for the Town Council and its staff.”
The revamped Chantry Centre boasts a larger double height hall with specialist audio and visual equipment and catering facilities for small and large events, while the first floor incorporates a brand new business suite with conference rooms and a larger council chamber.
Partner Paul Cavalier said: “We are thrilled to have delivered this exciting and innovative project despite the challenges posed by Covid. We’re convinced it will prove to become a vital space for the community once it is permitted to reopen following lockdown.
“The original council building was very old and outdated, and our goal was to make Chantry Centre an instantly recognisable, safe and welcoming hub for the community – one which stands out in the area.
“The building has presence throughout, with large glazing units visible from the outside and a community hall which has doubled in height. The building is now an exciting space that can be used by all Billericay residents and visitors.”
Chantry Centre is currently closed to the public due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions and is set to reopen in line with the Government’s roadmap later this summer. A date has not yet been confirmed.
However, it is currently in partial use by the Council for operational purposes in accordance with guidelines.
Deborah Tonkiss, Town Clerk at Billericay Town Council, said: “With the completion of the building we move into an exciting new phase for the Town Council as it gains its first permanent home since its formation in 1996.
“The new office, meeting rooms and hall will provide significant opportunities not only for the Town Council but for all of its residents both current and the next generation.”
A W Hardy were appointed as builders for the project and constructed the building with the latest materials, standards and mechanical and electrical installations.
Dave Bilcliffe, Contracts Director at A W Hardy, said: “We have been involved in constructing public facilities in Essex for over 60 years and the design put forward by Ingleton Wood made full use of the footprint available. We are extremely pleased to have completed this wonderful new building that can be enjoyed by the community for many years to come."