Northstowe Phase 1 Community Building Initial Specification

The whole area total is 945m2. The below table shows how the internal accommodation is split up.

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Internal Accommodation


Size (m2)



Entrance, reception, waiting and greeting area


Reception desk/window into office, seating, notice boards, main entrance doors, public telephone and direct access to toilets

Main Hall with Stage

Multi-purpose hall to accommodate sport and arts use


The interior must be designed to be a suitable multi-functional environment for all potential uses, including for sporting and non-sporting events, public assembly, music, drama, dance film, visual arts, performance, performing arts, practice and tuition, lectures and demonstrations; with lighting that can be adapted to suit the different activities.

The main activity spaces to confirm to recognised sports dimensions set out by Sport England as two-court hall 18 by 17 (17.6 by 16.7 minimum) by 6.1 to 7.6m clear height, dimension and height to accommodate badminton.

A safe durable floor finish that is also suitable for badminton use.

The hall finishes are to be specified to withstand games practice with soft balls only to ensure the hall is suitable for non-sporting use.

An audience capacity for amateur dramatic productions and large public meeting in the region of 350.

The requirement for a stage is to be met by the use of a modular platform that can create a stage of the required size in the required position but which will require to be stored in close proximity to the hall.

Stage to have curtains, stage lighting and ceiling height to accommodate suitable stage lighting and sound systems/data/overhead projector/screen and associated storage, lighting suitable for performance and sports use.

Dressing room (male and female) including showers.

Fold-out partitioning.

Adequate storage cupboard for hall users are to be provided and are to be accessible from the spaces they serve.

Second Hall

Smaller multi-purpose hall for meetings, classes and general community use


Sprung floor for dance studio use, mirrored walls, audio visual equipment including screen, storage/folding tables/stacking chairs/computer facilities

2 meeting rooms

Multi-purpose spaces for meetings and group activities


Two multi-functional meeting areas are required for the use of the building occupants and the community. The rooms are to be accessible from the main circulation areas and will require visual and acoustic privacy. The uses will include meetings of a private and confidential nature as well as for general use. The rooms will be available for use by statutory bodies such as the Police or District Council as well as clubs and societies.  The rooms will operate a reservation system run by the centre management.

One to have carpeting, curtains, audio visual and lighting equipment for use as drama rehearsal space, folding tables/computer facilities/stacking chairs/white board/data/power.

Community Lounge/Cafe

Meeting and informal Community gathering space, serving hot drinks/snacks


The cafe will be a shared facility open to the public and specific building users. It should be located close to the entrance foyer to enhance the welcoming ambience and to enable the centre to be used a meeting place and should be designed to ensure that standards of decor match successful high street equivalents.

A durable good quality flooring should be provided to the cafe area.

Informal seating/tables/chairs plus vending machines for out of hours.

Space for the community library service to operate including folding secure book stores is to be provided (for example, Gamlingay).

Computer area for 6 terminals, carpeted in parts, for example, the library area.



Small commercial standard kitchen to serve the main hall and cafe


The primary function of the kitchen will be to service the centre cafe/provide catering for meeting/events private parties using the centre.  It should be located to directly serve the cafe and the main hall to offer full service flexibility. Whenever possible the kitchen should be located on an external wall, easing delivery and service requirements.

Usual requirements are for a small commercial/industrial kitchen to Environmental Health Officer (EHO) standards equipped with four ring cooker, double sink, fridge, freezer, microwave oven, a dish washer, work tops, storage, lighting and ventilation. A separate wash hand basin must also be included.

The facility will be available for hire where private caters are used for receptions and private parties.

Centre Office with first aid room

A shared office for use by centre staff and visiting community workers


The main centre office is to be located in close proximity to the reception, foyer, main entrance and main circulation spaces, with window into reception area.

It will be a shared facility for building occupants as a point of information and management.

The office will offer a base for staff, a reception and bookings point, a records store and a location for the master service control for the centre and will provide touch down desks for visiting community workers including police. 5 office desks and chairs, storage including secure storage for confidential records, ICT provision, fixtures and fittings to be discussed, kitchenette for staff use.

The room should be naturally ventilated with daylight and should overlook the main approach to the building but will require secure storage for confidential records.

First aid room off the office.

Cleaner’s Store



To be provided located close to the changing accommodation and include a bucket sink and storage spaces and shelves.


Storage space for push chairs


Shelving and storage against walls.


Male, Female and Disabled toilets and nappy changing facilities


Male, female and disabled people’s toilets are to be provided close to the entrance foyer using hard wearing easily cleaned materials with suitable vandal proof fittings and fixtures and including electric had dryers. A fully equipped baby changing room is also t be provided with access from the general circulation areas.

A minimum of 2 toilets and 2 urinals in the male toilets and 3 toilets in the female's with basins, electric hand dryers, mirrors and handbag shelf.

Changing areas

Male and female for staff use plus use by the community for performances


Well-designed changing rooms using robust materials and fittings which are easy to clean and maintain and sized to reflect general community/building user’s needs.

The location of the changing rooms should enable them to serve what would be a backstage area for performances.

The size and umber of facilities within changing rooms should relate to the normal maximum occupancy level of the activity spaces they support but each should be large enough for 12 adults to change and should be adjacent to the main toilet facilities. Two shower cubicles should be provided in each changing room. Separate toilet, changing and shower facilities are required to be provided for disabled people, with 8 half height lockers for staff use plus standard benches and clothes hooks.



Heating plant and electrical switch boards plus water storage.


An efficient, economic energy efficient heating system suitable for both space heating and for heating hot water is to be installed using the most sustainable heat source.

The heating system should be fully controlled to ensure it meets the needs of the users.

The use of heat transfer technology should be included and all will be designed to meet the Passivhaus Standard.

A ground sourced heat pump system should be incorporated into the building.

Solar panels should be utilised.

The plant room should include gas, electric and water meters, switch and control gear plus an IT server and communications hub will be required to be secure.

Windows and ventilators to provide efficient natural ventilation with adequate privacy and security are to be installed to provide controlled cross-ventilation throughout the building. Natural ventilation, with de-humidification, should be used wherever possible but kitchens, toilets, changing rooms and showers must have mechanical extraction.




A presence detection system should be used throughout the building for all primary light sources. Time clock or sensor control will be required for external illumination. The main and small halls will need an overall lighting system and will also require secondary decorative and specialist lighting. When it will be used for drama productions ensure the hall is to be equipped with power points located for temporary stage lighting installation.  Emergency lighting will be required and all will be designed to meet the Passivhaus Standard.

Protection and Fire Safety



Fire escape doors should have recessed panic push bars or flush mounted push pads to meet all statutory requirements. Fire extinguishers are to be provided and should be located or recessed to minimise obstruction and possible damage. Security alarm, smoke detectors and a fire alarm system are to be installed with a remote link to a call centre. Lightning protection will be required to be installed.

Circulation 7.5%

General movement spaces for the public


A simple, economical and spacious circulation system that is clearly intelligible to the user and permits easy supervision to allow safe and secure access.  All levels must be capable of being accessed by the disabled user.

Servicing and plant room access should be remote from the main entrance but located as close as possible to the most heavily serviced spaces.

Hard wearing but practical, using attractive materials and lighting

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