Support for Fakenham ‘Community Campus’ plan

An ambitious planned redevelopment of a prominent community site in Fakenham was debated by about 50 townspeople at a public meeting.

Ideas for transforming the community centre and the surrounding site off Oak Street, which includes the town library and Fakenham Connect building, was discussed at the conference centre at Fakenham College.

The meeting on Tuesday was chaired by Gloria Lisher on behalf of the 13 local community organisations and councils which make up the steering committee overseeing the project, led by the Fakenham Area Partnership.

Many of those attending stressed Fakenham's need for good quality community resources, especially as it is a designated growth town within North Norfolk.

Praise was given to the many groups who already run services and activities ranging from lunch clubs for older people to community theatre and youth groups.

And people also said they wanted to ensure activities and council services should be kept in the town centre, while ensuring facilities were provided for young people to help keep them in the town.

The meeting was part of a public consultation being carried out by Richard Smith Architects and Crook De Lyon Associates.

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Richard Crook, of Crook De Lyon, presented some of the results gathered so far. He said: 'We have spoken in depth to nearly forty local organisations and received over two hundred responses to our questionnaires.

'Already some interesting results and exciting ideas are being expressed. We are working with the high school to undertake a detailed consultation exercise with teenagers to ensure their views are taken into account.

'These are difficult times and part of our brief is to explore funding and management options. This is likely to be a longer term project for Fakenham as well as having short and medium term options.'

Other ideas which arose from the meeting included the need for a flexible space for parties and wedding receptions, a professionally-managed and inclusive facility with a good outdoor space, and better access to the site.

Richard Smith, the architect working on the project displayed some drawings and ideas of how a new development might look.

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