Reg Charity No: 301343
Welcome to the Highwood Village Hall website.
The Highwood Village Hall had its Grand Opening on the 16th July 2011, the building was designed and built by the community who wanted to show that it was possible to construct new buildings with minimal impact on the local and global environment.
Our Village Hall provides a large main hall with wooden floor, a fully equipped kitchen with serving hatches to the main hall and front reception area, disabled access, parking and toilets, baby changing facilities and shower. In the near future a play area for children will be created in the field behind the hall.
Reception Foyer ......................................................Main Hall Area
Highwood is a rural community and a significant proportion of the Parish is covered with precious ancient woodland. The environment is important to residents and we wanted to do our best to build our new community building with minimal impact on the local and global environment.
The building structure as well as our small site provides new habitat for endangered flora and fauna. The external infrastructure of the building incorporates bird, bat and insect boxes and we already have some bats making use of the boxes and honey bees in our wood soffit cladding! A wire curtain on the tallest side of the building is planted with a green wall of scented climbing plants, to help blend the building with the landscape.
A community garden was designed with the help of students from Writtle School of Design to incorporate a community orchard of dwarf fruit trees native to Essex. Our trees include:- D’Arcy Spice a dessert apple, found at Tolleshunt D’Arcy Hall about 1785 originally sold as ‘Baddow Pippin’, Chelmsford Wonder a culinary yellow apple from Chelmsford c1870, Johnny Mount a dessert green pear from Colchester pre 1900, Eros a dessert flushed red apple from Boreham’s WP Seabrook Nurseries 1947 and Discovery a dessert apple from Langham in 1949. Under the orchard trees the community have seeded the ground with a native English wildflower meadow and spring bulbs.
Hedgerow provides important habitat and wildlife corridors for fauna that can so often be displaced by building development. We planted native hedgerow as boundary segregation and organised a community planting day where the children from Highwood Primary School together with volunteers from Ford Motor Company, Chelmsford City Council, Esssx County Council and residents planted it. The native hedgerow was donated by The Woodland Trust, as part of the Jubilee Woods project and it is our hope that other residents and planners will adopt the increased use of native hedgerow for boundary segregation.
We were one of the first Village Hall’s in the UK to be designed to ‘passivhaus principles’ the leading international design standard for low energy sustainable buildings. We generate our own electricity from photovoltaic cells and heat our water from solar panels. The roof pitch and orientation ensures the renewables gain the maximum sunlight. Where possible, materials are natural, recycled or reused. For example the multi-coloured plastic surfaces are made entirely from recycled crushed and pressed plastic bottles, instead of tarmac, our car-park and access road utilises high strength recycled blocks that maximise noise absorption and allow water to drain into the soil reducing the energy requied for mains drainage processing.
The building is a working classroom of green technology, demonstrating the various approaches to building design, construction and use that can be taken to reduce energy demand and CO2 output, thereby protecting the immediate and wider environment.
Within the main Hall area of the building there is a very special artwork. Eight large canvasses, collectively spell “HIGHWOOD” made by everyone in the School Community, children, parents (both past and present), teachers, governors and key members of the local community. Each letter was given a theme that encouraged individuals to think about 'What the Village Hall meant to them".
Kate Milner art teacher from Highwood Primary School (2011) echoes words felt by us all:-
It is my hope that the canvases remind us of many things. In particular, that we all (children and adults alike) have individual needs and hopes for our lives. That said, however, they remind us that we cannot function without being part of a Community. It is something, unfortunately, we take for granted in our busy lives and we often overlook the fact.
These canvases remind us that our Community can, indeed, be the source of our inspiration".
The Village Hall Committee were delighted that In October 2011 the Mayor of Chelmsford Councillor Bob Shepherd MBE, awarded the Highwood Village Hall with the Chelmsford City Council "Community Award."
The Mayor of the 'City of Chelmsford' 2011-2012, Councillor Bob Shepherd MBE, and Mayoress, Mrs Doreen Shepherd with Petra and Richard from Highwood Village Hall Committee, Head Teacher Helen Hutchings with children from Highwood Primary School and Steve Terry with students from Writtle School of Design.
artwork designed by Highwood Primary School