Alloa Hub


Completion Date:


Building owner/client:

Clackmannanshire Council via Hub East Central

Architect or lead designer:


Local Authority Area:


Nominating Body:

Alloa Hub Ltd

Project Description

In 2018 the public toilets in the Maple Court area of Alloa Town Centre were closed by Clackmannanshire Council. The building of simple construction with terrible thermal performance lay derelict until identified for redevelopment as part of the multi-agency Living Alloa project.

Community engagement was crucial to developing the brief for Alloa Hub. A series of community consultations were undertaken including:

  • Bid consultation undertaken by Alloa First identifying key priorities for over 200 local businesses.
  • An Active Travel Survey conducted by Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface. (CTSI)
  • A Place Standard Principles Survey conducted by CTSI and Clackmannanshire Council in the town centre.

All of which informed the conversion of the derelict toilet block into a new Community Hub to promote local identity and active travel. Located in the heart of the community adjacent to the train station and of sufficient size (126m2) to provide a flexible space which would meet the needs of a multi-functional community-run organisation.

Alloa Hub Limited, a Community Benefit Society was established to run the newly refurbished building which opened to the public in October 2022. Internally there is a meeting room/workshop, an accessible public WC, a shower facility to encourage active travel, a flexible retail space promoting local artisans through the ‘Made in Clacks’ brand, a sheep’s wool insulation viewing panel and a bespoke display enclave exhibiting the community-stitched Clackmannanshire Tapestry. Externally the Hub features a walled paved area extending the meeting room/workshop (weather permitting), a parking rack for bikes (leisure and commute) and a Forth E-Bike docking station.

The refurbishment demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainability by retaining and upgrading a thermally poor energy-performing building with a deep retrofit approach that significantly improves the building’s thermal efficiency transferring the building into a valuable decarbonised community asset with very low running costs.

The unique aspects of the retrofit were:

  • Retained the existing building and embodied carbon from demolition.
  • Significant thermal upgrade using natural insulation.
  • Excellent level of airtightness.
  • Triple-glazed openings to all windows and doors.
  • Fully thermal bridge free encasing all internal brick walls with insulation and VCL where interception could not be achieved.
  • Localised MVHR to main flexible space and workshop.

The refurbishment of an obsolete public toilet building into a bright, thriving and inviting community hub showcases how the preservation and revitalisation of mundane building stock can be harnessed for community good.

Community feedback in our guest book has been:

  • L.G. from Alva “could not shop in Alloa without the lavvie”
  • C.J.C from Fishcross refers to it being “ a credit to the town”.
  • P.M from Alloa “ Absolute god send having access to your loo – Thank you”
  • S.R. from Edinburgh refers to our “ Fab idea to combine toilets with the Community Hub”

Supporting Statement

Since Alloa Hub opened to the public in October 2022 we have:

  • Welcomed our 4000th visitor (Not including meeting and event attendees). The Hub is regularly used by over 100 people each week. Over 70% of our first-time visitors come to use the public toilet which is not only a ‘lifesaver’ for local people but encourages footfall from further afield

  • Celebrated our 1300th Facebook follower (74% live in the Wee County) with over 5600 page reaches in the last 28 days. Promoting both Hub activities and those of our wider NEEBORS our socials are designed to encourage active participation and increase in-person engagement. “Thanks for the chats and networking” Alloa Community Council.

  • Won Two Awards – SURF & Thistle Awards.

  • Had our meeting room/ workshop booked by local groups and organisations over 250 times. Regular bookers include: Forth Valley Sensory who host workshops and support meetings for the visually impaired; Kingdom Housing who regularly hold ‘brew and blether’ sessions for the residents in their nearby over 55 assisted living complex and Enable Works who support local people into the workplace.

  • Planned and hosted 21 children’s events including our popular free Santa’s Grotto in conjunction with Alloa First transforming our meeting room into a place of wonder. In 2023 we hosted five open sessions with over 250 local families coming to meet Santa. A Quiet Santa day designed for children who have additional support needs was fully booked.

  • Ran three adult-only workshops. In response to our community survey (October 2023), we identified a need for adult-only activities to combat social isolation.

  • Published a series of local self-guided heritage walks for locals as well as visitors to the area.

  • Organised intergenerational outdoor activities to promote active leisure including: An Easter Egg Trail, A Festive Fun Scavenger Hunt and guided heritage walks.

  • Set up a Youth Team Volunteering initiative working with local organisations and support workers tackling social anxiety and offering bespoke one-to-one mentoring and upskilling.

  • Celebrated three of our Volunteers gaining employment as a direct result of their volunteering experience.

  • Established THE WALL a mini exhibition space to celebrate local social history and provide a tangible output for heritage volunteers and local contributors to ‘take a daunder down memory lane’ fostering pride through shared collective memories.

  • Launched the Thursday Morning Club in January 2024 as a ‘warm heart, warm welcome space’ designed specifically to combat social isolation.

  • Displayed our second community tapestry (Redwell Primary School P5) which will springboard our Education and STEM activities.

All the above would not be possible if it were not for the involvement of the local community.

As a Community Benefit Society with Charitable status, the low costs associated with a building which has been retrofitted to such high environmental standards is fundamental to our long-term sustainability. The multi-function space allows Alloa Hub Limited to adapt to changing community needs, expectations and requirements.

Turning this neglected eyesore into a well-loved community resource and active travel hub exemplifies how community-led built environment projects transform local areas.