St John the Baptist Church Hall Alterations Consultation

St John the Baptist Church Hall on St Ninian’s Road in Corstorphine is a wonderful asset for our parish and I very much want to see it continue as such.

For decades it has served the parish community well for social events, children’s sacramental preparation, first Communion breakfasts, youth groups, teas and coffees after Mass, the annual BBQ and much more.

The hall has also been a vital source of income for the parish by letting it to various community groups, from Irish dancing to amateur dramatics to keep fit classes.

I am proposing to undertake some alterations to the hall to enhance it’s usability for the parish and it’s appeal to outside groups for letting.

There are four main elements to the proposal which are outlined below and can be seen in these plans drawn up by an architect. The architect used original plans from the time when what is now the sacristy was confessionals (labelled ‘penitent’ on the plans) and what is now the oratory was the sacristy.

  1. Fire safety alterations
  2. Disability access and toilet
  3. Refurbished kitchen
  4. Refurbished toilets

1.Fire safety alterations

In the last three years we have upgraded the fire safety in the hall and church considerably by installing an integrated detection and alarm system and emergency lighting. Our consulting fire officer told us at the time that we need to have a secondary exit from the hall that does not require access through the kitchen as at present. Also, it is not ideal having general access to the hall from the church through the kitchen as at present.

Therefore the first proposal is to create an access corridor next to the kitchen leading from the bottom of the steps from the church into the hall. This would require reducing the size of the oratory to make room for the corridor. Access to and from the kitchen would be via the existing door which would be reworked and a new door at the hall end of the new corridor giving access from the kitchen into the hall.

2. Disability access and toilet

The current disability access via the courtyard is very limited and in reality does not meet current standards to be able to claim disability access. Furthermore there are no disabled toilet facilities in the hall.

In order to make the hall fully accessible it is proposed to install a platform lift at the front entrance and reconfigure the entrance to the hall. Emergency disability exit would be via the new corridor to the courtyard.

In addition it is proposed to install a stair lift on the internal steps leading from the church down to the hall.

The existing toilet at the bottom of the internal steps leading from the church to the hall to be upgraded to full disability access and usability.

3. Refurbished kitchen

It is proposed that the kitchen be refitted with steel worktops, storage units, sink, cooker, fridge etc. It is also proposed to create a serving hatch in the wall between the kitchen and the hall. The existing door from the kitchen into the hall would be filled in with access to the hall via a door into the new corridor.

4. Refurbished toilets

It is proposed that the existing hall toilets be stripped and refitted.


I am consulting the parish on this development at the earliest stage and so we do not have any figures regarding costs at the moment. This would be the next stage where we ask the architect to formalise the plans which can then be put to tender. Costed proposals would also need to be agreed with the Parish Finance Council and the Archdiocesan Trustees.

If you have any comments that you would like to make regarding these preliminary proposals please send Fr Jeremy an email to or write to St John the Baptist, 37 St Ninian’s Road, Edinburgh, EH12 8AL.