In November 2015 we obtained full planning permission to redevelop Courtyard Arts Centre.
The plans provide for an additional teaching studio which will be a dedicated ceramics space (with the current ceramics studio becoming a further art studio). This will provide capacity for 60% more class places, enabling us to better meet demand and to offer a wider range of classes.
Permission also includes a plan to glaze over the central open courtyard. This will greatly improve the Centre’s amenities: providing a year-round facility for an expanded café, additional display and retail space and creating a multi-purpose area suitable for events.
As well as providing greater facilities for all our members and students, expansion will also generate much needed income. As a self-funded charity, we do not receive any regular support or external income.
The internal reconfiguration will allow us to move the office to the clay room, creating a fit-for-purpose space for our admin/management team. The old office space will become a kitchen.
In January this year, our Centre Director Melanie Ewer took on the temporary role of Development Director working on the Courtyard Arts Centre redevelopment project.
This project has been broken down into two phases: Project and Construction. In order to proceed to the Construction phase – and before we can tender to builders – we need detailed architect drawings and a structural engineer’s report. When a builder has been appointed, we will then embark on fundraising with a precise figure of exactly how much money we need to raise.
The initial Project phase will cost around £30k and Melanie has so far been successful with two grant applications. We are extremely grateful to Hertford Town Council and The Robert Kiln Trust for supporting us from the outset, their confidence in us as an organisation has been invaluable in getting the project off the ground.
Melanie is awaiting the outcome of two further submissions, one of which is looking hopeful. If these are awarded, we will be able to progress to the next stage. As soon as we have more news, we will provide an update.
Whilst Melanie has been working on the redevelopment project, Mike Smith has served as our interim Centre Director for a six-month period. This arrangement comes to an end in June, with Melanie resuming in the role of Centre Director from the start of July.
Mike has done sterling work for us, not only in the daily running of the Centre but also carrying out research and strategic work, enabling us to to tackle and resolve some complex issues. We look forward to engaging his services in further projects.