We have submitted a revised planning application to East Herts Council for our new modern purpose-built facility which will meet the unique needs of our members and their families, whilst ensuring that the future of Grove Cottage, a much loved, essential community resource in Bishop’s Stortford, will be safeguarded for many years to come.
Planning was permission previously awarded back in 2019. However, due to delays because of the pandemic, Grove Cottage Trustees have taken the opportunity to review and improve the original plans and a new scheme has been designed by Pardon Chambers Architects.
The new purpose-built premises will be over twice the size of the current floor space with two storeys and an outdoor space. It will be fully accessible with a state-of-the-art specification and an adaptable interior, including retractable walls, which will enable the space to be used more flexibly, accommodating a variety of activities on different days.
Our current building at 151, London Road has served Grove Cottage well for over 50 years, but as we have grown substantially over recent years, it is now outdated and cramped, has poor accessibility, is inefficient and costly to maintain, and doesn’t meet the needs of our members who range from nursery age through to adults.
We currently offer an Ofsted-regulated Special Needs Nursery, which runs five days a week during term-time, three weekly adult daytime clubs, two adult evening social clubs, Saturday and Holiday Clubs for children, a weekly Get Active Club, a Performing Arts Club and Music Man Project and a Speech & Language Therapy service. The current building isn’t large enough to house all these various activities and therefore some are currently being run in other community spaces in Bishop’s Stortford.
As well as providing additional space, the new building will offer comfort and dignity for all members with modern disabled toilets and hoists, it will operate in an eco-friendly, energy efficient and cost-effective manner and will provide a welcoming ‘hub’ for the community where local partnerships can be further developed.
A key aspect is that it will incorporate separate entrances and spaces for the Nursery and adult services which will enable us to increase our service provision by 40% including:
- Additional day services for older adults, and a move away from a term-time model to 45 weeks of the year
- Activities that support the transition for young people from school to adult life
- Parent and baby groups
- More weekend and holiday club provision for school-aged members
- Replicating our successful Speech and Language Therapy programme in other areas of therapy and support
- Enhanced life skills training.
- More activities for siblings.
Kevin Davis, Chair of Trustees said, “Grove Cottage provides a range of services and educational activities for around 200 people with learning disabilities, as well as providing vital respite for their families.
“We have been supporting local people with learning disabilities for over 50 years and to ensure this continues into the future, we need a bigger, modern, purpose-built facility which will enable us to increase our service provision, as well as providing our members with the best facilities possible.
We have been working on this project since 2019 and we are very excited that these plans will soon become a reality and the future of Grove Cottage can be secured for many years to come.”