THE COMMUNITY HUB at THE OLD HOSPITAL
Following the acquisition of the site by Bill Howard and the public consultation which followed, the Not For Profit Community Interest Company (CIC) known as Minehead Connect was formed in December 2016 to drive the project forward, under the directorship of Mr Brian Leaker, Mr Alex de Mendoza and Mr Andrew Kingston-James . Following on from that a project steering group drawn from the local community will guide the CIC to ensure to achieve proper community involvement and sign up. Formation of this steering group is already well underway.
The vision of Minehead Connect is for the Old Hospital to become the focal point for the community, bringing people together and providing a platform to enhance quality of life and social enjoyment. The plan is that the whole of the main building at the front of the site and all of the ground floor areas behind will be used for community purposes, with the main building being lovingly restored to its original Assembly Room format and safeguarded in the process.
The aim is that it will accommodate all manner of community services and activities from family events such as weddings and birthdays to conference and exhibition centre and for dance/drama/exercise and music groups.
The need for the scheme is included in, and forms part of, the local economic development plan which can be down loaded from www.westsomersetonline.gov.uk/getattachment/Business/Economics-Strategies/Minehead-CCT-Economic-Plan-Jan-2016.pdf.aspx
In September 2016 Planning and Listed Buildings Approval was achieved for the scheme. Details of the planning applications can be seen here: https://www.westsomerset.gov.uk/online-applications/
Please enter the following references: 3/21/15/113 (Change of Use) and 3/21/15/114 (Internal and External Alterations)
In the meantime major repair works have already been carried out to remove damp and dry rot from for instance the Exmoor Ward area.
The next steps will include the following areas:
- Renew the Community Consultation study with a wider reach and increased depth.
- Progress development of overall strategy for capital funding
- Refine early financial viability studies and finalise a robust long term sustainable Business plan, which can be worked to and relied upon for years to come
- Submit application to West Somerset Council for initial “Section 106” funds to ‘kick start’ construction projects by enabling the rehabilitation of rear areas of the site and bringing them back into community use.
- Initial estimated costing for the total scheme of works is calculated at £2.1 million and discussions with funding groups such as Architectural Heritage Fund are already well underway.
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