'Outdated' village hall in Bronte sisters' home of Haworth to be converted into virtual reality studio and visitor accommodation

A village hall in the home of the Bronte sisters could soon be expanded to include a virtual reality centre and overnight accommodation.

Ambitious plans to turn the “outdated” Haworth Village Hall into an improved community facility have this month been submitted to Bradford Council.

The proposals will see the existing hall, a former schoolhouse, refurbished, with a new extension created to provide more flexible space.

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A former caretakers office on the site of the hall will also be extended and converted into accommodation space if the plans are approved.

Haworth villageHaworth village
Haworth village

More modern “ad hoc” extensions to the building would be demolished to make way for the plans.

One of the most striking additions to the hall included in the plans is a two storey virtual reality centre, which the application says “can be used by multiple external agencies such as universities, schools and entertainment business etc for a number of different uses.”

The planning application says the current layout of the building is holding it back from being the successful community hub it could be.

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It says: “Haworth Village Hall is currently a community and education facility. It is a busy and well used community centre but the building is old and whilst it is in its current state it is unable to meet the current and future community requirements.

The village hall is in a former schoolhouseThe village hall is in a former schoolhouse
The village hall is in a former schoolhouse

“We are proposing to refurbish and extend the existing Village Hall and restore and extend the existing Caretakers House as an educational residential facility to support the Village Hall.

“Our proposal aims to provide a flexible and adaptable variety of spaces for a number of different users in a secure and effective manner.

“The existing hall is in poor condition and is unsuitable for many of the user groups.

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“The building is very difficult to heat. The inflexible layout means that use of the building is often compromised. Limited funding meaning that maintaining the building remains a challenge.

“The existing services of the building are outdated and the fabric of the building does not comply with current standards.

“There is currently nowhere for user groups to stay on a residential type excursion, limiting the offering that the community centre can provide.

“We want to make this building more adaptable, flexible, and versatile to adapt to the user groups and to give the building an opportunity to increase its income and support itself.”

The on-site Caretakers House will be redeveloped to provide dormitories for visiting groups.

A decision on the application is expected in May.

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