Ferneham Hall redevelopment designs changed to reflect Fareham's 'local character' after council raises concerns
UPDATED designs for the multi-million pound redevelopment of Ferneham Hall have been unveiled following concerns that the proposed building would quickly appear 'dull.'
The executive of Fareham Borough Council will be voting to approve new design concepts for the £12.35m redevelopment of the theatre on Monday.
The architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, had submitted designs to the executive in September - but councillors raised concerns that it would be costly to maintain the proposed white brick facade.
Susan Bell said: ‘When we looked at the concept designs they looked very white.
‘We were concerned that white looks very dull very quickly.
‘We gave the architects a fair amount of leeway with the redesign.’
The design team researched local architecture, including prominent features on a number of Georgian buildings on the High Street and West Street, before incorporating red bricks into their designs in keeping with ‘local character’, according to a council report.
Red bricks from Fareham were popular in the 19th century, and were included in the construction of the Royal Albert Hall.
Cllr Bell said: ‘I'm really pleased that the architects looked at the architecture in Fareham town centre.
‘We are still working on the interior designs, and we have a brilliant working relationship with the architects.’
The current designs, which refers to the building as Fareham Venue for the designers’ purposes, will see the current 708-seat theatre expanded to 800 seats, with a café operating throughout the day on the ground floor and a terrace bar on the first floor. The original plan was for it to become a 400-seat theatre, but after a consultation it was decided to expand, not decrease the capacity.
The council is also hoping the building, which could feature solar panels on its roof, will not impact its commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030.
Cllr Bell added: 'It’s most important that the building meets our commitment to carbon neutrality.'
The current theatre’s final show, which is Christmas panto Beauty and the Beast, will be staged on Sunday January 5.
Decommissioning the building in preparation for the works will begin later this month, followed by a public consultation before the final application is presented to the council’s planning committee in March.
The theatre is set to be closed for up to two years.