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Outdoor space - what you told us

What a great turnout.  Thankyou to everyone who took the time to respond to the Outdoor Space Consultation.  We’ve taken some time to carefully look through and consider all the responses.

The overwhelming message was that everyone would like a multi-purpose outdoor space which encouraged biodiversity.  A good balance between green space and the necessary tarmacked area.  Somewhere to sit and chat, where people could spill out during the day and early evening from events taking place.  Somewhere where fruit and vegetables could be grown and accessed by those in the community who want and need them.  Enabling both permanent and temporary pieces of art to be part of the design.   There was a desire for a Harry Lauder memorial to remain and a general tidy up to happen as soon as possible.  We’re terming this as an ‘informal civic space’.  Not too formal, but not as ‘relaxed’ as it currently is.  

There were obvious concerns about noise leakage, parking, access, smoking and vandalism.  We are working hard to balance essential parking for those who need a car nearby which makes the Town Hall accessible for them with the needs of event hosts.  We won’t be turning the whole space into a car park as we’re encouraging as many people as possible to use more environmental forms of transport including our great bus service.  We are very aware of noise leakage and taking steps in our refurbishment to address this as well as making sure that people who hire the space are aware of their obligations to help us be a good neighbour.  We are also focussed on creating a discrete smoking area and the chat and noise that’s associated with groups of people gathering together.  We hope that by creating a vibrant and loved space that vandalism will be kept to a minimum.

The consultation threw up some unexpected responses.

Some used the form to tell us things that concerned them generally about the Town Hall’s reopening.  We’ve decided to add a feedback form to the website to communicate with us if you’re unable to catch someone at an event or when the Town Hall is open.

Some people still had concerns that the Town Hall might be sold to a property investor.  We can never guarantee 100% that it won’t, but we have a 25 year lease and the last 11 months have been better than we could have imagined!

We received a few suggestions about using the space for workshops.  That might pan out over the longer term but feels a bit unachievable at the moment.  

We also received a heap of great advice which we’re grateful for.

  • Start small and build out

  • Consider the overhead upkeep and maintenance of whatever is agreed

  • Aim for a space which is inclusive and not overwhelmed by a single type of activity.  

Changes will need to take place over the short, medium and longer term.  Initially we would like to develop a group of volunteers who will help with a general tidy up and then regular maintenance of the space. If you would like to grow fruit and veggies and maintain a growing space please get in touch.  We were very lucky that during the consultation a couple of people came forward to offer their expertise and support.  We will be in touch with them and with others who are interested in helping in this area.

We hope you’ll start to see changes soon as you attend events and walk past and through.  We’ll also keep you posted via the website and social media.

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