The Results are in!

8 out 10 respondents to our village survey are in support of building a new Village Hall and Sports Pavilion at the Playing Field

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey and to share their views with us. The great news is we had 131 responses to our survey which means it is a good representative sample from the parish and user groups outside of the village. The full details of the survey and all the verbatim comments can be found here on our Documents page and or it is available to download at the end of this summary.

83% of respondents agree that Hadlow Down needs a new high quality Village Hall and Sports Pavilion for use by the whole community.  

  1. Executive Summary
    The survey has given us plenty of evidence that supports the new proposal, particularly from a wealth of verbatim comments which are centred on the need for new modern facilities, improved access and a “community building’ for sports recreation, social events, education and entertainment.

    Usage of our current facilities has been very similar across both sites with the village hall being used quarterly or more by 46.6% of respondents and the Pavilion 46.1% respectively within the last year. Key reasons for this low usage has been cited as poor access, limited parking, poor toilets and changing facilities in worn out/old buildings.

The survey data tells us that this usage would increase in the future with better facilities and a broader range of activities. Respondents want to continue with current social events but also want a New Village Hall and Sports Pavilion to provide the community with some new choices for both the old and young, such as baby and toddler groups, after school clubs, adult education classes, gardening club, community cinema, Information Technology, health and well-being, martial arts, sports coaching, art classes coffee hub, office hub etc. These make for an exciting new community space in the village.

There is clear support from the village community with half of the people surveyed willing to provide their personal time to progress the project in some way, offering word of mouth support, helping with door to door distribution and helping with fundraising and organising events.

On the other hand, there are still 17% against the proposal. Whilst these respondents currently have low usage of the current facilities their views are still important to us. Their key reasons for not supporting the proposal are that they state that the current facilities are already adequate and the new building would be too large and costly, as well as being concerned that it will bring more traffic and noise pollution to Hadlow Down. Whilst we recognise we may not change their views, we are committed to further consultation and communication for the whole community as we progress.

2. Context and Methodology

The survey questions were shared in advance with the Parish Council, Village Hall Committees and other interested groups before newsletters notifying residents that an online survey was being held were distributed to all households in the Parish[1]. Residents had a period of 3 weeks to complete the survey and the findings have been analysed by volunteers from both the new project and village hall committee, who have backgrounds in Marketing, Business Consultancy and Market Research. They have endeavoured to ensure there is a factual representation of the results and no bias. Survey Monkey provided independent software and statistics for the survey, which can read by all residents via the link above. The survey received 128 online responses and 9 paper responses from a total of 137 responses, 131 of which gave consent for their data to be used.

To calculate a response rate we assumed one survey was completed by each household this gives us a response rate of 32% [2] but we recognise that some surveys could have been completed by more than one person per household, so as a precaution we have also calculated a percentage by resident, this gives a lower response rate of 13%[3], but we must also take into account that the total resident population would include children that have not completed the survey. Therefore, given the true response rate will lie between 13-32% we have assumed that a quarter of the village community has responded and that we can conclude with a reasonable degree of confidence that a fifth of residents support the new development (83% positivity of the assumed 25% response rate). A typical response rate according to market research organisations is between 5-25% of the population surveyed so we believe we have received a good response rate to the survey.

The survey also had 26 responses from user groups outside of the Village, their findings have been included in the detailed analysis as their usage and future usage of our facilities is equally as important to understand.

Part of the survey asked for more detailed comments and suggestions, 132 verbatim responses were received to Questions 2 and 3 [4]alone which will help inform future decisions. All verbatim comments will be available to view on our website, some are included here as examples and for context.

3. Key Findings

62 % of respondents strongly agree and 21% agreed that Hadlow Down needs a new quality village hall and sports Pavilion for use by the whole community (total 83%). With 7% disagreeing and 10% strongly disagreeing (total 17%). 

The main themes evidenced in the verbatim comments for the 83% in agreement with the new building were centred around the need for new modern facilities, improved access and the need for a “community building’ particularly for sports recreation, social events, education and entertainment. Bringing the community together was a strong theme and having a central place for a coffee seemed popular with both the young and old.

In contrast, the main themes evidenced in the verbatim comments by the 17% that disagreed with the need for a new building were concerns that the new hall would be too large and costly, that the current village hall was still adequate and could just be updated and that the Pavilion wouldn’t need updating as its sports pitches were too small to attract registered clubs.There were also concerns about more traffic in the village What it means is more traffic, more noise and more air pollution from people outside the village coming to use the facility. People are move to a small village to keep away from larger communities, this project will encourage that larger community into our small village to use the facility.”

The 17% against the proposal was comprised of 22 respondents. 72% of these respondents currently use the village hall only once or twice a year or never at all, and 82% rarely or never use the Pavilion. So these opinions, whilst important do not represent the major users of our community’s facilities. By comparison to the respondents  that agree or strongly agree with the new proposal  88% have used the hall quarterly or more in the last year.

3.1 Current usage

Usage is very similar across both facilities with the village hall being used quarterly or more by 46.6% of respondents and the Pavilion 46.1% within the last year.

The explanation for the low usage of the Village Hall could be that numbers have fallen post pandemic, as the current occupancy rate is at c.20%[5]. Other reasons evidenced in the survey, are well documented and of no surprise, with 57% of respondents citing it was because the type of activity they would like to attend isn’t offered in the village, 34% saying facilities are better elsewhere, 26% stating the venue is not suitable and 22% citing not enough parking. This was backed up by an overwhelming number of verbatims. Including “The Village Hall is small, uninviting…” “limited parking…” “poorly sited with limited facilities…” “It smells…” “Has inadequate heating…” “facilities limited and outdated…”  “The old village hall is old and tatty” “The current village hall is not fit for purpose, lacks adequate storage space (some of this is provided by villagers but is also not fit for purpose) and better facilities would encourage more frequent village gatherings which are important for social connectivity and a sense of belonging”

Within the last year the majority of usage at the village hall from respondents has been focused on larger village social events such as seasonal markets, annual shows, committee meetings, lunch club, plant and cake sales and less so on private bookings and classes. The lack of private bookings and more classes may be due to the reasons stated above.

The current usage of the Pavilion is also low as the building is too small and does not provide facilities that meet modern standards, this was captured in the survey verbatim comments. “Sports Pavilion is coming to the end of its life” “The cricket pavilion is well past its sell by date and doesn’t reflect current changing facilities” “Pavilion definitely needs a re-build” “Improve the existing pavilion to ensure it is fit for supporting sports.”

The Pavilion has a higher percentage of never been used in the last year at 25% compared with the Village Hall at 15%, this may be a reflection on the age profile of the respondents of the survey[6], 25%[7] of our village population is over the age of 65 and many of the respondents in this age category indicated that they are unable to use either of the current facilities due to poor access. The Pavilion usage is comparable to the Village Hall usage as during the last year it was mainly attended for social events such as 39% Pop-Up Suppers, 22% cricket matches, 18% Outdoor Theatre.

3.2 Future usage of a new Village Hall and Sports Pavilion

If Hadlow Down was to provide a new joint facility the main activities the respondents claim they would use it for are 64% for social events/clubs, 52% for fitness classes, 48% community cinema, 46% seasonal celebrations, adult education 41%, talks and lectures 41%, art classes and exhibitions 38%, Performing Arts 37%, health and well-being 34%, cricket/football 31% outdoor gym 27%.[8] In addition to this the most popular themes in the verbatim were “badminton” and “a community café”. There are many activities cited which are not provided in the current locations as a more modern space is required.

Other factors that would influence respondents’ likelihood to use the new facility are adequate parking 55%, bar and club room 44%, improved toilet and changing room facilities 44%, community coffee hub 41%, improved heating 38% , excellent kitchen facilities 33%,  Wi-Fi 27%, better lighting  24%, better acoustics 14% [9]. Many of these are basic hygiene factors for a community building in 2023 and all good insights into what would make a new building more attractive, with exciting new offerings to explore.

See verbatim below which demonstrates some of the enthusiasm for a new community space.

“The location will be so much more flexible. Children will be able to play outside of the Hall. The Playground will be safer once moved away from the road. The school will be able to utilise both the sports facilities and the Hall for plays etc.”

“I believe a new Hall and Sports Facilities will be a much needed, updated community space for ALL, young and old, to meet for recreation, social events, education, and entertainment, catering for the needs of today and for the future. The improved access and provision for parking will make it more attractive to hire out.”

“The new hall is potential hub for activities promoting community cohesion, health and social well-being, and fun. As such, it will also draw people from beyond the village to use it for sporting and other activities from with parishioners may benefit.”

In terms of future occupancy, the days and times that suited respondents were well distributed across the week and Saturdays, the outliers were weekday evenings as the most popular time and Sunday evenings as the least popular time (Q10).

The survey also tested whether respondents with their own local business/organisation or charity would use the new building, out of the people that responded to the question the main activities they would consider were workshops/training events, venue for fundraising, meetings, office facilities and hot-desking. These would all be dependent on having many of the new facilities quoted above as well disabled access.

4. Thank you for your support

There are many more encouraging, insightful and supportive comments which you can read in full on the website. These depict a more connected view of how the village members want to bring the community closer together by working on this project, with 74 respondents personally offering help progress the project. [10]

Word of mouth, door-to-door distribution of information and help with fundraising events are the strongest ways that these members of the community will show their support. 70% of respondents offered to help the project in some way. 52% offering word of mouth support, 21% helping with door to door distribution and 21% offering to help with fundraising and organising events.

The user groups that responded would also like to help to support the project, mostly through word of mouth support and helping through fundraising events.

81%[11] of respondents would be very likely or likely to attend activities/events at the New Hall and Pavilion if there were more activities on offer that interested them, this compares well to the current usage of 46%. Additionally, larger numbers would be drawn to the facility if there were better acoustics, improved heating and better kitchen facilities. Of those taking part in groups and activities outside the parish, the sizeable majority do so because there is currently no activity or facilities meeting their need at the existing hall.

5. Conclusions

We believe we have had a representative response to our community survey. A clear majority of our respondents are in favour of the project. Respondents feel that the current buildings no longer offer adequate facilities for our community. There is plenty of support in the verbatim comments for a new improved environment and many feel that the new activities would strengthen community spirit and involvement. The survey data tells us that usage would increase in the future with better facilities and a broader range of activities. We are mindful though that there are still a small number of villagers with strong views against the project. Whilst we recognise we may not change their views, we are committed to further consultation and communication for the whole community as we progress.

We are encouraged by members of the community offering both support and practical assistance. As we move into our fundraising phase, the survey will be vital in demonstrating community insight, and for applications to external trusts and investors.

[1] Source: Office for National Statistics, Census report 2021 reporting there are 331 households in Hadlow Down

[2] This assumes one response per household for the respondents living in the village 105/331.

[3] Source: Office of National Statistics Census report 20021 recording the population of Hadlow Down as 800 residents, including children
105 of our respondents are residents, giving us a response rate of 13%

[4] Q2 Hadlow Down needs a new high quality Village Hall and Sports Pavilion for use by the whole community? Please tick the answer that most represents your views and add your own ideas if you wish in the comments section. Q3 Do you support the proposal to build a New Village Hall and Sports Pavilion at the Playing Field?

[5] Data provided by Hadlow Down Village Hall Committee

[6] Majority of respondents are over 45. 55-64 year (24%) 45-54 year olds (23%), 65-74yrs (19%)

[7] Source: Office for National Statistics, Census report 2021 age of population

[8] Q7 What type of activities would you, or someone in your household, be interested in attending in the New Village Hall and or Sports Pavilion? 111 responses

[9] Q8 What would make you more likely to attend activities/events in the New Village Hall and sports Pavilion compared to the existing hall? 117 responses

[10] Q14 What help, if any, might you be able to offer as we progress with the project? 109 responses, 35 of which are unable to help.

[11] Q9 If the new building did provide more activities of interest and better facilities, how likely would you be to use it? 129 responses, 104 very likely and likely.