Plaice have submitted a planning application for a new Village Hall and Archive Centre in Wickham Market.

These proposals have been designed in close collaboration with the Wickham Market Village Hall New Build Group. Since 2015, the Group have actively promoted the idea of a replacement Village Hall and Archive Centre for the enjoyment of communities in the Wickham Market area. The ambition is to provide modern and more flexible accommodation to replace the current out-dated and expensive-to-maintain and run facilities.

Further to the public consultation that took place earlier in the year, comments received at the event steered the final design proposals. The proposals now include a Main Hall with performance stage, a multi-purpose room, second small hall, new Kitchen and Bar areas, Office and WC facilities. At First Floor level the accommodation will house the Wickham Market Area Archive Centre, which will be accessed by stair and lift.

A spokesperson for the Village Hall New Build Group said “We want to provide a ‘hall for all’ to attract as many different users as possible. The current hall is not up to modern standards and the deteriorating environment is increasingly unattractive to users and hirers of the hall. There is demand for additional regular activities, and we are trying to improve the facilities to provide the community with the space to do this.”

They continued “currently the Archive Centre is based across three portable cabins which is not suitable. The new dedicated space on the first floor will help prevent archive materials falling into disrepair and provide a permanent resource of archive information for generations to come.”

Around £60,000 of Section 106 funding is currently available for the project, which is being supported by local fundraising efforts, including from the Parish Council. On approval of the submission, National Lottery funding will be sought to cover the shortfall in funding. The scheme is expected to cost £1.5-£1.6m. The bidding process is likely to take up to 18 months, while it is hoped the build itself will be competed in 42 weeks.

Nick Loomes Director at Plaice Design said “It has been a very engaging and rewarding process to work with the Wickham Market Village Hall New Build Group in the design of this important new community building. Participating in the public consultation event was equally rewarding - the many discussions with different interest groups and local residents showed that the community were both engaged and passionate about the future and vitality of their village hall. Our proposals have acknowledged their responses to provide modern, fit-for-purpose and flexible community spaces.”

AuthorNick Loomes

The members of the Wickham Market Village Hall New Build Group and Plaice Design carried out a very well attended public consultation with the residents of Wickham Market and surrounding areas to gauge their opinions on the design of their new Village Hall.

The meeting on Saturday 27th January asked residents to give views on two schemes produced by Plaice Design, which varied on whether the Wickham Market archive centre is located on the ground or first floor, the size of the hall’s footprint and available space for car parking.

Margaret Holland Group Chairman said 120 people gave their views. “Generally, they’ve been really impressed by the work that has been done so far. We want to provide a ‘hall for all’ to bring in as many different users as possible. We are trying to improve the facilities to get the bookings back again. And we also want to encourage the artistic side of the village by having display areas with the appropriate lighting.”

Plaice will now assist with the collation of the comments and finalise designs ready to submit for Planning in due course for the proposed £1.6m project.

AuthorGlen Read