Hatfield building destroyed by fire restored and turned into community centre

PUBLISHED: 17:17 15 March 2020

The Hatfield Royal Legion building has been transformed into the Hilltop Community Centre. Picture: WHBC.

The Hatfield Royal Legion building has been transformed into the Hilltop Community Centre. Picture: WHBC.

Archant

An old Royal Legion building in Hatfield, which was ruined by a fire, has reopened as community centre on Thursday.

The scene after the blaze at Hatfield's Royal British Legion building. Picture: Hatfield fire stationThe scene after the blaze at Hatfield's Royal British Legion building. Picture: Hatfield fire station

The blaze in September 2018 caused severe damage throughout the building and smoke damage meant almost the entire property needed to be rebuilt.

Following a £250,000 transformation by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, the new facility features a spacious main hall, kitchen, storage room and changing areas.

Councillor Duncan Bell, executive member for resources, said: 'The building is totally unrecognisable, it's a remarkable transformation.

'We've designed the facility with local people in mind, from children's parties to exercise classes, the space is versatile and well-equipped for all.

The Hatfield Royal Legion building has been transformed into the Hilltop Community Centre. Picture: WHBC.The Hatfield Royal Legion building has been transformed into the Hilltop Community Centre. Picture: WHBC.

'I'm really proud the council is investing in facilities such as this, ensuring we continue to provide our communities with easy access to spaces where they can come together, connect and enjoy spending time.'

Hatfield Town Council leader Lenny Brandon said: 'It's good to see the building open to the community again, after being decimated by fire.

'The Royal British Legion Club had stood on the site since 1960 and played a key community cohesion role within South Hatfield and beyond, for many decades. It was also the ancestral home of the Hatfield Poppy Appeal.

'I'm sure a bittersweet moment for lots of local people glad to see the building put to good use again, although not for the same use it was originally intended.'

The first pint in the Royal British Legion was pulled by Barbara Cartland with  Johnny Brodie. Picture: Lenny Brandon.The first pint in the Royal British Legion was pulled by Barbara Cartland with Johnny Brodie. Picture: Lenny Brandon.

The centre will be available to hire to residents and community groups for a wide range of uses.

The borough council at Campus West will manage the new centre alongside their portfolio of community spaces which includes Panshanger Community Centre, Vineyard Barn and Hazel Grove.

To find out more or enquire about hiring Hilltop Community Centre, please visit welhat.gov.uk/communitycentres or call 01707 357116.

The building was devastated by the fire in September 2018. Picture: Lenny Brandon.The building was devastated by the fire in September 2018. Picture: Lenny Brandon.

The first pint in the Royal British Legion was pulled by Barbara Cartland. Picture: Lenny Brandon.The first pint in the Royal British Legion was pulled by Barbara Cartland. Picture: Lenny Brandon.

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The building was devastated by the fire in September 2018. Picture: Lenny Brandon.The building was devastated by the fire in September 2018. Picture: Lenny Brandon.

The Hatfield Royal Legion building has been transformed into the Hilltop Community Centre. Picture: WHBC.The Hatfield Royal Legion building has been transformed into the Hilltop Community Centre. Picture: WHBC.

Firefighters tackle the blaze at Hatfield's Royal British Legion building. Picture: Hatfield fire stationFirefighters tackle the blaze at Hatfield's Royal British Legion building. Picture: Hatfield fire station

The scene after the blaze at Hatfield's Royal British Legion building. Picture: Hatfield fire stationThe scene after the blaze at Hatfield's Royal British Legion building. Picture: Hatfield fire station

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