Community Halls Strategy

Reference: S10-002
Status: Approved by the Council on 2 March 2010


Council’s vision for halls and community centres is:

To provide an efficient and effectively managed network of halls across the district that provides venues for people to meet and participate in the life of their communities and neighbourhoods.


  • Clarify the Council’s role in the provision of community halls.
  • Increase use of urban halls.
  • Improve information systems and liaison with customers and users.
  • Address land tenure issues relating to the district’s halls network.


The district’s network of halls consists of both community halls and privately managed halls. From a community use point of view, hall ownership makes little difference. However, the Council as a corporate body in perpetual succession may offer a more secure funding stream and governance entity than the private or community sector, which is dependent on the owner’s financial situation and other human resources to manage a facility.

Other key principles are:

  • That urban halls and community centres will meet the foreseeable recreation, cultural, social and sporting needs of the community.
  • The Council’s intention is to discontinue its ownership of rural halls.
  • Council owned facilities are only part of a network of halls, community centres and meeting facilities available to the community.
  • Council owned halls or community centres will comply with all relevant safety standards.
  • Council owned halls or community centres will be accessible to members of the community regardless of age or physical ability.
  • Community partnerships can consist of the Council providing land for third party facilities, building community facilities on third party land, joint building ventures, sponsorship and third party funding, or leasing parts of a facility to third parties. The Council will investigate community partnerships for halls or community centres where partnerships may offer a benefit to the community and meet a recognised demand for halls or community centres.
  • The Council will ensure that there is a geographical spread of halls and community centres throughout the district and that the size and range of hall facilities offer sufficient variety to ensure a range of uses.
  • Major capital investment in halls or community centres will be considered as part of the Council’s Long Term Council Community Plan Process.
  • Where opportunities exist for divestment the Council will seek and consider the views of the community.


The objectives of this strategy are:

  • To provide a guide to decision making on hall or community centre proposals and facility divestment.
  • To inform the community about the Council’s approach to hall or community centre proposals.
  • To outline an action plan to assist with achieving the strategy’s goals.

The criteria outlined in the policy are intended as a guide and the merits of proposals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Facility Evaluation Criteria

These criteria apply to:

  • The evaluation of proposals for significant (proposals over and above regular repairs and maintenance of small scale building projects) Council investment in and divestment of Council-owned halls or community centres.
  • Where the Council is, or is considering, becoming involved in a community partnership.

The application of the criteria will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It does not apply to applications for funding or insurance grants for rural halls.

General Criteria

When deciding where a hall could be built, redeveloped, or divested the Council will consider the following criteria:

  • The geographical spread of available hall or community centre facilities available for community use, including privately owned facilities.
  • The type and size of halls available within the district including privately owned facilities.
  • Existing and predicted supply and demand for hall or community centre use, based on recreation growth, population growth or demographic change, existing use information, needs of community groups or priorities in the Council’s land supply review.
  • The cost of maintaining, building and developing facilities.
  • Views of the community and expert knowledge, including officers, facility users and feedback from customer surveys.
  • Building condition and suitability for purpose or location.
  • Opportunities for community partnerships.
  • The fit with reserve management plans, the Council’s General Policy for Council Administered Reserves, or any other relevant Council plan or policy.
  • Financial viability.
  • Previous Council decisions on the matter.

Criteria for a New Facility

The Council may investigate provision of a new facility if one or more of the following criteria apply:

  • There is a gap in hall provision.
  • An existing facility has neared the end of its useful life.
  • The community profile indicates a demand.
  • Existing facilities are not fit for purpose or pose a significant threat to health and safety.
  • New facilities would fulfil a policy goal or objective.
  • The private sector or a community partnership is unable to meet the need.
  • The proposal meets the facility provision criteria outlined in Sport Taranaki’s Regional Sports Strategy (under development).

The Council will consider allowing halls or community centres to be built on Council land by third parties subject to any policies and processes set down in the Council’s General Policies for Council Administered Reserves or any other policies on facility development, strategic goals or priorities.

Criteria for Redevelopment

Redevelopment of hall facilities should be considered in cases where:

  • A community needs analysis indicates a need for development of facilities.
  • Existing facilities cannot meet demand and redevelopment of the facility would help meet demand.
  • The size, layout or facilities of a hall are unsuitable for preferred community use, and redevelopment would assist use.
  • The building is in good condition (i.e. structurally sound).
  • The building is of historical importance or is a war memorial.
  • The project is deemed a priority in a community plan process.

The merits of each proposal will be considered against these criteria on a case-by-case basis.

Criteria for Divestment

The Council can consider a range of divestment options including: selling a hall, demolition, using the hall for non-community purposes (provided this complies with the Reserves Act 1977) using the hall for a community partnership venture.

The Council should consider divestment in the following circumstances:

  • There are other similar facilities in close proximity.
  • Demand analysis and use data indicates very low use and there are no perceived opportunities for increase in demand.
  • Other planned developments would better meet the community’s needs.
  • The design, size and layout of the hall are unsuitable for community needs and redevelopment of the building is not cost effective.
  • Significant work is required and cannot be justified given the use of facilities.
  • The hall has been identified as marginal and the Council has stopped funding depreciation of the facility in anticipation that the hall would not be replaced.

Divestment will be subject to the following policies:

  • If a rural community decides that its hall or community centre is no longer viable and the hall is on Council land and/or a facility is owned by the Council, the Council will work with the hall society to discuss options for the future of the property.
  • The Council will not take over ownership of privately owned rural halls that cannot be maintained by hall societies, unless there is a clear indication that Council ownership will increase usage and is consistent with the Council’s strategic goals, plans and policies.
  • Independently managed Council-owned halls or community centres on Council land that cannot be maintained by their community and are not regularly used by their community should be considered for divestment.
  • The Council will work with groups who would like long term leases of a facility, provided that the groups allow community use and all legal obligations and any trust obligations are complied with.

Action Plan

This section documents key actions that have arisen from research and consultation during the community halls review. The action plan also captures issues known to officers and those raised by community feedback. It currently does not include any actions related to the final recommendations; these actions will be added once the Council has made a final decision on the options following consideration of the community’s views.

1. Asset Renewal and upgrade of hall facilities

Action # Description How we will achieve action Priority Completion Estimated Cost In LTCCP?
1.01 Investigate a feasibility study on the Waitara War Memorial Hall Theatre modernisation project, using funding set aside in 2012/13. Seek specialist advice and work with community. Medium 2012/13 $15,000 Yes – use design funding set aside in 2012/13.
1.02 Investigate improvement of hall environments, including car parking, accessibility and energy efficiency. Accessibility audits of Council owned halls.

Review energy efficiency and car parking as part of Asset Management Planning process.
Medium (ongoing review) July-2012 To be confirmed There is some funding in the 2009/2019 Community Plan for improved accessibility.
1.03 Conduct a feasibility study on the hall needs of the Oakura community. Seek specialist advice and work with community. Medium Dec-2014 $30,000 No – seek funding Community Plan 2012-2022.

2.  Goal: Increase Use 

Action # Description How we will achieve action Priority Completion Estimated Cost In LTCCP?
2.01 Promote available halls (with an aim of achieving 70 hours per month) Develop a communications and marketing programme to promote hall venues. High July-2010 To be determined. Yes – can be made a priority within 10/11 existing parks promotion budget
2.02 Use of the halls by community arts and culture groups should be promoted to ascertain whether there is spare capacity in halls for this type of use. Promote use to existing networks. Medium Dec-2010 To be determined. Yes – can be made a priority within 10/11 existing parks promotion budget
2.03 Work with Sport Taranaki and sports organisations to ascertain if venues can be matched to clubs requiring practice space. Promote use to existing networks. Medium Dec-2010 Staff time Yes-Existing budgets
2.04 Consider if Bell Block Hall can be made available to more than one user at a time. Investigate conversion of old toilet area into meeting room. Medium Dec -2012 Staff time Yes –existing budgets

3.  Goal: Improve information systems and liaison with customers and users 

Action # Description How we will achieve action Priority Completion Estimated Cost In LTCCP?
3.01 Develop information systems to ensure that booking information for all urban halls is regularly captured. Halls should be brought into the centralised booking system as and when the opportunity arises. Use information to assist with management of assets.

Parks programme team to meet with custodians. Property Team to meet with Fitzroy and Star Gym Committees.

Agree on system to capture information and incorporate it into contracts, agreement and custodian job descriptions.
High July 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
3.02 Subject to existing policies, consider community partnerships for the management of facilities if opportunities arise. Explore opportunities as and when they arise. Ongoing Ongoing Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
3.03 Work with communities to monitor halls that are underutilised. Gather information on urban hall usage. High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing budgets
3.04 Survey Council owned rural hall societies on perceived future needs at least every three years. Survey form circulated with rural hall funding information. Ongoing 3-yearly Staff time Yes-Existing budgets
3.05 Survey urban hall users annually about satisfaction with facilities. Undertake survey as part of annual user meetings. Ongoing Annual $400 set up fee for survey + staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
3.06 Consider the role of halls as recreation venues and their place in the local suite of recreation options in the sport and recreation strategy (to be developed). Include as part of event venues review. Low Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
3.07 Assist the community to preserve war memorials or other heritage items. This is likely to be addressed on a case by case basis, but may include measures such as providing an alternative location for war memorials if a hall closes or heritage protection funding (if memorial meets the criteria) for war memorial halls. As and when required. As and when required. Unknown Existing Budgets
(Heritage fund if not on Council land). Council funding may be required if Council owned.
3.08 Hold regular meetings with Bell Block School to discuss issues of mutual interest. Schedule meeting. High July 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
3.09 The Star Gym revenue to be accounted for in a manner similar to other urban halls. Revise internal accounting procedures. Medium 2011 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets

4.  Goal: Address land tenure issues 

Action # Description How we will achieve action Priority Completion Estimated Cost In LTCCP?
4.01 All independent rural halls on Council land to have leases so the responsibilities of various parties are clear. Identify specific properties and work with other parties to implement new leases and licences. High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.02 Land tenure options for portion of Mangorei Memorial Hall car park that is owned by neighbours to be addressed. Work with society and landowner for new agreement. High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.03 New lease/agreement for Fitzroy Joint Venture Hall required legitimising the Council's occupation of Ministry of Education property. Work with Hall Society to draw up new lease. High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.04 Negotiate the lease of hall land used by the Oakura Bowling Club to ensure compliance with Reserves Act, bylaws and Council policy. Lease to be limited to an initial 10 year period. Work with Bowling Club. High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.05 Formalise use agreement with Playgroup at Fred Tucker Memorial Community Centre. Work with Playgroup High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.06 Document the agreement for gate access by neighbours onto the Oakura driveway. Work with neighbours High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.07 Develop agreements for hall societies managing Council-owned halls to clarify party’s responsibilities. Work with hall societies High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.08 Draw up lease for rugby club at Star Gym that reflects existing historical arrangement and acknowledges the club’s contribution to building this venue. Work with club. High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.09 Draw up a new licence reflecting the Bell Block School's use rights for the Bell Block Hall. Work with Board of Trustees High July 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.10 As part of the Halls and Rural Domains Management plan, reclassify reserves to better reflect use. Address issues in management plan. Low Dec 2015 $5,000 No –consider as part of 2012/22 community plan process
4.11 Ensure Urenui medical centre and library have appropriate lease arrangements. Work with groups concerned. High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.12 Establish a concessional lease with the Urenui Community Centre Management Committee for the hall portion of the building. Work with committee. High Dec 2010 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.13 Encourage and negotiate building transfer and lease (or other agreement) for five Council owned rural halls. Work with rural hall committees. High June 2011 Staff time Yes-Existing Budgets
4.14 Address ownership of parcel ‘D’ at Uruti Hall. Work through land process. Medium To be determined To be determined Yes – Existing Budgets