Public consultation to begin on Fakenham community site

A public consultation is to begin next month to explore the possible redevelopment of a prominent community site in the centre of Fakenham.

The idea of transforming Fakenham Community Centre and the surrounding site, off Oak Street, which includes the town library and Fakenham Connect building, into a 'community campus' is being examined.

It is a long-term project which is being led by Fakenham Area Partnership (FAP) with support from local councils and other community groups, including Fakenham Community Association.

FAP co-ordinator Janet Holdom, who is also the town mayor, said: 'We need to know how people think the site could be developed into a resource centre or a community campus, that could better meet the needs of the wider community.

'The community centre is out of date and no longer meets these needs. The configuration of the building, with a large hall and high ceiling, is not very flexible and it could be redesigned to better meet the needs of modern society. I hope lots of people will get involved in this and come up with ideas.'

She added: 'It may not be the best time to be looking for funding but there are still community funds out there and if this is managed one stage at a time I think it is achievable.'

The consultation is to be carried out by Richard Smith Architects and Crook De Lyon Associates.

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It has been funded by the Community Builders Fund, which is a national scheme run by The Social Investment Business to secure sustainable facilities in local communities.

Richard Crook, from Crook De Lyon Associates, said: 'We have already been in contact with Fakenham Town Council, the library service and users of the community centre.

'We will look to organise a series of public meetings in May and we will be out distributing questionnaires on the streets. We will then look to come up with some proposals and get feedback on them.

'The scale of the development is impossible to estimate at this point but I want to make clear this is not a cuts exercise but a look at how these facilities could be put to better use.

'Fakenham is seriously lacking in community facilities but there is still a great number of groups and individuals to fantastic things in the town.

'And people in Fakenham have been very positive and helpful about this project so far.'

Fakenham Community Centre is currently undergoing repair to structural damage which was discovered in September last year.

More information about the public consultation will be published in the EDP when it becomes available.