The Laverton Development

The Laverton Development

It was decided after the move of the Council offices, the installation of a disabled lift and the revised Laverton Project itself, that there would need to be a commitment to the direction, aims and objectives of the ‘Laverton Project’ as well as further project management activity, minor additional expenditure and a comprehensive public consultation exercise.

Harnessing our Heritage – Serving our future

The Laverton Project was set up in 2008 by the Laverton Institute Trust Management Committee, a working group of Westbury Town Council – the sole trustees of the Laverton Institute Trust.

The aim of the project was to explore ways and means by which this important venue and community building could be brought back into wider community use, fulfilling the original aims of the Laverton (Charitable) Trust, ‘The provision and maintenance of a community centre for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Westbury’.

In November 2009 both the Laverton Institute Trust and Westbury Town Council endorsed the findings and recommendations contained in a major review report and discussion document which set out the option sand opportunities for future development. At this point the Project went ‘live’ with an on-going programme of active fundraising and development, itself broken down into distinct phases.

Progress since 2009 has been rapid with success in raising both finance and funding, which in turn has supported the major redevelopment works outlined on the accompanying panels.

The Laverton Institute built in 1872 and opened in 1873 was donated to the people of Westbury by Abraham Laverton, a wealthy Victorian mill owner, local politician and social benefactor, to serve as a centre for education, culture and leisure. A fine structure, it was designed in the ‘Venetian’ style by the celebrated architect William Jarvis Stent and is a Grade II listed building.

The Laverton Project Phase 1

In 2009 Old School Rooms (formerly used as a Snooker Club) became vacant, offering an opportunity to internally relocate the Town Council offices while at the same time opening up adaptable space on the ground floor.

These developments also created space for the installation of a Disabled Access Lift to the first floor.

Westbury Town Council raised £105,000 through a low interest Public Works Loan to finance the Phase I works.

Phase I was completed in May 2012 and achieved the following:

  • Total refurbishment of the old school rooms to create purpose designed, up to date Council offices with a separate street entrance
  • Installation of a disabled access lift
  • Opening up of old Town Council area usable meeting and office spaces.

The Laverton Project Phase 2

Following the successful move of the Council Offices, it was possible to examine ways in which the remaining areas of the building could be adapted and re-developed to bring the venue and public areas up to a very high specification.

An active programme of fund raising was undertaken to support this important phase.

The Laverton Institute Trust has been successful in raising the following grants to fund Phase 2 works:

  • £10,000 match funding raised from Westbury Area Board – for refurbishment, decoration and re-equipping of kitchens
  • £25,000 grant from Wiltshire Council Performance Review Scheme – towards refurbishment of public and disabled toilet facilities on ground and first floor
  • £90,000 grant from Plain Action (Rural Development Programme for England RDPE) – redecoration, refurbishment and re equipping of ground floor meeting rooms, main hall, lobby stairwell and associated areas.
  • £25,000 grant from Community First’s Landfill Communities Trust from Hills Group – towards purchase of new multimedia equipment for venue areas, new security lock system, venue hire software system and community information board.

Phase 2 was completed in autumn 2011

The Laverton Project Phase 3

This phase which will run from January 2012 – December 2012 will be concerned with the following:

  • Active marketing of the Laverton as a venue and community resource
  • Identification of other building improvement requirements
  • Public consultation to explore opportunities to maximise the use of the Laverton by the local community
  • Further fund-raising

The Laverton Project Phase 4

This phase which ran from December 2012 to April 2013 will be concerned with the following:

  • Development of Laverton Marketing & Development Officer role
  • Review of Phase 3 – Marketing & Business Development Reports
  • Identification of future building refurbishment & facilities needs
  • Staging of Laverton Experience – Community Events Program
  • Related Community Consultation & Review
  • Identification of Grant Funding sources & targets for Phase 5
  • Continued Funding Applications

The Laverton Project Phase 5

This phase ran from May 2013 to April 2014 was concerned with the following:

  • Introduction of revised Business & Marketing Plans for 2013-14
  • Launching of new Laverton Website
  • Staging of a wide variety of events, exhibitions,activities & entertainments
  • Increased niche marketing – Conferences, Weddings, etc
  • Introduction of ‘ Laverton Development Advisory Group’ to advise on future planning
  • Continual community & customer consultation
  • Major funding application to Big Lottery ‘Reaching Communities’ fund (Boiler renewal)
  • Development of cooperative funding bid to Heritage Lottery Fund to support Laverton based project
  • Funding application to Landfill Community Fund for Disabled Car Parking
  • Continued funding Applications

The Laverton Project Phase 6

This phase ran from May 2014 and was currently active until May 2015.

  • Active marketing of the Laverton as a venue and community resource
  • Identification of other building improvement requirements
  • Public consultation to explore opportunities to maximise the use of the Laverton by the local community
  • Further fund-raising

The Laverton Project is an ongoing programme of redevelopment/refurbishment of the historic Laverton Institute building (1873). The aim has been to build on the original aims of the philanthropic Victorian founder Abraham Laverton to provide a multi-faceted community resource for the town but obviously adapted to a contemporary context:

‘The object of the Charity shall be the provision and maintenance of a community centre for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Westbury without distinction of political, religious or other opinions, including use for meetings, lectures and classes, and for other forms of recreation and leisure-time occupation, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants.’

On an ongoing and specific research with the local community and extant user base has illustrated a need to be able to improve information distribution both internally and externally at The Laverton to increase awareness of the range of activities and events programme, encourage attendance & participation, promote community activities, enhance heritage interpretation and add value to the user experience.

As stated above, The Laverton Project seeks to continually seek means, methods and resources to allow the building to be used by the local community for the benefit of the local community.

In addition to the uses mentioned above relating to information promotion, cascading and sharing it is intended that the display systems will be to be used as a display resource for an on-going exhibition relating to the unique heritage of the building that will be regularly updated. It is intended to work on a variety of heritage related legacy projects that can relate to the unique building and make use of the new display equipment to be presented to a wide and varying audience.

The Laverton Project Phase 7

This new phase began in May 2015.