Petitions with more than 500 protest signatures, procedures: Halle assembly hall next to the rectory did not come without a fight. As a result, construction began with a delay of about two years. The opponents’ biggest objections were the impact on the green rectory garden, the parking problems and the cost. The board defended the project by stating that the rectory garden, which no one used to enter, would be donated to Hallenaar, and the rectory was immediately upgraded.
The delays caused the price to increase by several hundred thousand euros as the agreed amount was no longer sustainable due to the increase in building materials. On the other hand, the board points out that the protests have led to different insights. “In the beginning, the roof edge was at least one and a half meters higher,” says Mayor Liesbeth Verstreken (N-VA). “But with the basement everything and, among other things, bringing toilets and backstage underground, the assembly house has become lower, so the impact on the environment has been limited. The whole commotion around it has also had a positive effect. ”
Councilor Katrien Schryvers (CD&V), then one of the architects behind the entire OPP building in Halle, which will lead to the relocation of the school and the future demolition of the Sint Maarten hall, which will house a mixed social housing project, calls. it is ‘a comrade of Hallenaar’. “There is room for 190 people in total. The underground toilets were criticized, but in the Chapel of Sint-Antonius this has been the case for years. On the ground floor, there is still a spacious toilet for the disabled, which can also be used by other people with walking difficulties. ”
Thanks to the mild winter, the town hall was built in just under a year. It is currently in the completion phase and will be delivered before the construction holiday. The restoration of the rectory from 1863 requires some more time. Here, the roof was completely renovated, while the more than 150-year-old mother beams with wooden taps were preserved. The bell at the rectory lights up again as usual. On the ground floor, the memel-affected wooden floor is replaced. Parish and church councils – temporarily housed in an office container – are still the main users of the rectory. But associations can also find space after the restoration. “And if there is a performance, the pastor’s former living room can be rented, for example, where the artists can eat before the performance or sit together in a homely setting,” says PPS councilor Danny Van de Velde (N-VA).
The assembly hall can be rented by both private individuals and associations. Baby drink, quiz, performance, theater performance, coffee table or a party under certain conditions: anything is possible. “In fact, everything that happened in the Sint Maarten room can also be done here. This new town hall is even a little bigger. Once the stage is set up, it can be screened off with a cloth during other activities,” explains culture spokesman Roel Van Elsacker ( CD&V).
What makes the assembly house beautiful is the glass on both sides, so there is optimal contact to the green rectory garden on both sides. It is actually one large garden room. The plantation with fruit trees behind the church will also be integrated into the whole, so that children have plenty of space to frolic at communion parties and can sit outside, without large terraces or sidewalks. There are skylights in the professionally equipped kitchen.
The cream of the crop is the modern energy techniques incorporated in both the rectory and the hall. Through the European grant program Solarise of Interreg 2 Seas, the municipality received a grant to equip the roof of the slate parsonage with heritage-friendly solar panels that are invisible from the outside. The assembly house has no gas connection, but runs exclusively on innovative heating techniques. The green roof is combined with solar heaters and there is a special heat pump system.
Every new child needs a name. Molepræstegården, after the legend that the only pier found in Halle’s lean sandy soil was chained to a tree in the priest’s yard? The monkey tree, to the big monkey tree in front of the door? I’m sure the locals have better suggestions. Anyone with inspiration can put their suggestions in a bus on Open Recruitment Day. You can also submit ideas until 5 June via the participation platform Denkmee.zoersel.be. The Culture Council will also have its say.
Open place day assembly house in the rectory garden, Sunday 15 May, 10.00-17.00, Halle-Dorp 30-32 in Halle.