A NEW arts facility could be built to replace Ferneham Hall in Fareham.
The plans are part of multi-million proposals to transform the town centre within a draft ‘vision’ by Fareham Borough Council.
Ferneham Hall is perfectly adequate for performances but it looks a bit run downGraeme Clements of Fareham Musical Society
Ferneham Hall would not be demolished, but redeveloped in the potential scheme, which includes homes and more commercial space for Fareham Shopping Centre.
The new facility’s exact location has not been determined but the proposals also involve demolishing the Osborn Road multi-storey car park and moving the facilities at the Ashcroft Arts Centre into a bigger cultural and arts hub.
Fareham Borough Council - who run Ferneham Hall - say the facility is ‘dated’ and that a new facility would improve cultural and arts opportunities in the borough.
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of the council said: ‘We are looking to create a vibrant and cultural civic area for our residents. A new arts facility is something we are looking at.
‘Hampshire County Council own the Ashcroft so at the moment we are talking to them about exploring the possibility of getting them involved.
‘We are hoping to get all the services of Ferneham Hall and the Ashcroft together on one new site. My desire is that we would keep the hall open throughout the process, and it would be redeveloped as part of the plans, not demolished.’
The News previously revealed last year that the council were proposing to demolish the Ashcroft for homes but Hampshire Cultural Trust who run the facility says it will not be demolished under the plans.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Fareham has much to offer in terms of arts and culture and we are committed to making that even better.
‘We would welcome any exciting new cultural initiatives that inspires great experiences for the people who live, work and visit Fareham.
‘We will continue conversations with the council, however, there are no plans to move Ashcroft Arts Centre.’
Graeme Clements of amateur group Fareham Musical Society said he would welcome the move if it meant hiring out the facility was less expensive.
He said: ‘It’s so expensive to hire so if there was a way to get the costs down, we would be on board.
‘Ferneham Hall is perfectly adequate for performances but anyone can see that inside it looks a bit run down and a bit dated.
‘It could do with a revamp.’
TOWN CENTRE MASTERPLAN INCLUDES 900 NEW HOMES
A NEW ‘vision’ for Fareham’s town centre involves hundreds of new homes, taller buildings and a restaurant quarter.
The multi-million pound masterplan has been revealed in a document by Fareham Borough Council, which is set to be presented to the local authority’s executive on Monday.
Contained in the document are plans to build up to 900 homes across the town centre, a new multi-storey car park, a restaurant quarter, the aforementioned arts and cultural facility, a transport hub and encouraging landlords to build taller properties along West Street.
The council have listed West Street, the Civic Area, Market Quay, Lysses car park and the land around Fareham Railway Station as the five key areas in the document.
Councillor Keith Evans, the council’s executive member for planning said: ‘Fareham town centre has stood up to the challenges of internet shopping but it is not as popular a place as our neighbouring cities in Portsmouth and Southampton.
‘With new homes comes the opportunity to look at how we can make Fareham town centre a dynamic place where people enjoy working and living, as well as somewhere people see as a destination for retail and leisure.’
The dramatic proposals will be looked over by the council’s executive at a meeting in the civic offices in Fareham on Monday where Councillors will decided when to hold a public consultation.