Hall plans new kitchen as part of £480k refurb

A function hall in Oxfordshire that was built in 1926 is aiming to raise funds for a £480,000 refurbishment that will include a major overhaul of its catering facilities.

Shiplake Memorial Hall says the revamp is needed to preserve the venue and make it more attractive for people who want to hire it out for weddings and other occasions.

The building work has been separated into three phrases, with the first phase scheduled to include the installation of catering-standard equipment.

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At the moment, the hall has a small kitchen that only contains domestic appliances and does not offer direct access to the main hall.

It intends to fix the access issue, create a contractor unload doorway, and bring in a range of commercial catering equipment to modernise the kitchen.

“We have got a broken domestic dishwasher at the moment, so we would expect to have a commercial-standard dishwasher as you have got to have fast-cycle dishwashing if you are in there catering for 100 people at an event,” said Trustee Bob Partridge.

“Obviously we would like to have equipment that is easy to clean, decent cooking facilities and decent fridges, and separate preparation and washing up areas — all the usual stuff you would expect.”

The first stage of the project is estimated to cost around £365,000, although Partridge said it was too early to say how much spend would be allocated to the kitchen area.

Partridge said planning permission for building work has been obtained with a view to the project starting early next year if the hall raises the money it needs.

“We haven’t at this stage gone out to kitchen equipment suppliers although one of them has given us a 3D view of what the kitchen may look like but they haven’t specced it,” he said. “We probably won’t do that until early 2013, once we are sure we are going to be able to go ahead. What we will then have to do at that point is go back to our lowest building tender, get them to confirm, and then go out to three or four kitchen equipment suppliers to see what they can do.”

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