On 11th January 2016, Christ Church and our architects Klas Hyllen & David Robinson held a series of consultations in Norris Green. Together, we agreed that we wanted to consult and collaborate with our community as much as we could in order to establish a ‘community mandate’ for the project- since the building is to be used by the community it should be made in part by the community.
Galvanizing support and gathering information involves the community and gives them a chance to voice their opinion towards the development. This in turn helps shape any future development to suit the needs of the Norris Green community. Getting it right in the design process helps to make any future building genuinely useful and sustainable in the long term.
The first consultation workshop took place over three sessions, each aimed at a slightly different audience. Attendees were asked targeted questions and invited to comment on any aspect of the project. Through the workshop, the Christ Church team was able to get a range of information to develop a brief, schedule of spaces and ultimately a detailed community mandate.
SOCIAL COMMUNITY (Members of the Public)
We invited members of the public who may (or may not) use or have links to the church to have their say. We received really encouraging feedback from this first group who enthusiastically approached the questions and offered valuable insight. Comments about the visibility of the site and making the community centre more noticeable were common answers. Security was also a common concern raised by people, with both passive and overt strategies being suggested. By far the biggest number of responses came from the suggestions for activities that could go on at the new building.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS (Other charitable & statutory organisations)
Representatives came from many experienced community partners- Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Police, NHS, Cobalt Housing, Norris Green Community Alliance, Alt Valley Community Trust, Norris Green Debt Advice and Credit Union, Peter Coyne Funeral Directors, other local clergy, and the office of Stephen Twigg MP. Their insight was valuable and interesting findings were centred towards the visibility of any new building. It was felt that the current Centre does not have an obvious presence on the estate. This provides both an opportunity and challenge to approach the design process and operation of any new development.
Identifying shortfalls or gaps in community provision were useful for the Christ Church team to analyse and feed into future plans. There was focus on the quality of services or activities offered that needs to be reflected in the quality of the building. Ideas towards the design of the building were useful, particularly the idea of a tall space lifting the spirits and vision of users. Community Partners noted that there are few opportunities for local people to experience distinctive quality spaces in Norris Green and felt that a good design would benefit the neighbourhood.
CHURCH COMMUNITY (Congregation)
The final group to meet was those who have a connection with the worshipping life of the church. Many people spoke of a desire for a light and bright space that is unique with a bit of charm, and some hoped elements of a ‘traditional space’ could be incorporated. Many comments related to practical or ‘in use’ matters and there was recognition that this project has the potential to be someone’s first experience of a church.
Another interesting response came from many who felt it was the community that should benefit most from a new space, despite their own hopes for a dedicated worship space to be built. Enthusiastic responses from the attendees related to the visibility of the site on Sedgemoor Road and that any new intervention could assist the presence of the Christ Church mission.
The design consultation phase has now ended. For more information please do get in touch.