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- a regular column from our Hon. Sec., Tim Large

During July and early August much work was done at the Belfry.  Greater detail appears in the Hut Engineers report.  Following the setting up of a sub-committee to look into possible Belfry improvements, myself, Nigel Taylor and John Dukes were able to take a close look at the problems and sought advice of one or two experts.  Originally I had looked at the possibillity of putting stairs up into the loft and converting it into the bunkroom with the installation of a dormer window.  This would free the present bunkroom for other facilities.  On consulting the experts, this would cost about £1,200 alone.  By the time the downstairs conversions had been accounted for the sum would be at least £2,000.

Our ideas eventually congealed into one and a revised plan emerged.  That is to confine all alterations to the present ground floor.  The main considerations appear to be:-

1.                  Provision of a background heating system to warm the whole building thus preventing damp and the subsequent deterioration of the internal fabric of the building.

2.                  Improvement of the showers, changing area and toilet facilities.

With the rising cost of fuel, wood is now available to us from various sources at a cheaper cost. The installation of a wood burning stove providing hot water, radiators and a hob for cooking.  This would achieve several purlposes at once.  Our electricity costs would be greatly reduced particularly during the peak winter period of greater caving activity.  Our bottled gas costs would be slightly reduced as some of the present gas burners could be dispensed with in the winter. Present costs of this would be about £800, with members doing the work.

Regarding the improvement of facilities; at present

  1. The changing area is too small.
  2. Showers take up too much room.  Women’s shower rarely used.
  3. Toilets unsatisfactory.
  4. Women’s bunkroom rarely used.
  5. Only the women’s room has a wash-basin with hot and cold water.
  6. Showers are in the centre of the building.

By re-organising the Belfry, excluding the living room these points could be rectified.  This would cost about £300, with members doing the work.

Using a scheme like this we could complete our objectives for the price that originally only the loft conversion would be achieved.  Thus we could bring our facilities up to more acceptable standards and thereby continue to attract a steady influx of new members and guests.

Last month the B.B. published various proposals regarding the subscriptions.  Incorporated in many of the options was an allocation for Belfry improvements.  In most cases only £175 would be raised each year.  This was based on £1 per head.  This money could be spent as it came in and the necessary materials to do the work purchased and slowly accumulated over several years allowing the work to progress in phases.

At the lost committee meeting the sub for 1979/1980 was fixed at £7.50.  This has to go before the AGM for ratification.  This figure includes the £1 towards Belfry improvements. Ideally more money per year would help the work progress quicker.  Obviously other fund raising schemes will be necessary to obtain additional monies.  I hope you will all consider these ideas carelfully and bring constructive ideas to the AGM.

New member:

962  Christine Anne Stewart, 15 Ashurst Road, Portsmouth, Hants.

Address change:

Phil (the Miner) Ford, 40 Station Road, Greenfield, Holywe1l, C1wyd.