1 December 2006

1977's vision of the future.

Somerton's 1977 Draft Town Plan continues to be a very interesting document which contains, buried within its pages, some very interesting observations. One of these was specifically regarding the community which could be addressed by a new village hall.

In 1977 comment was passed upon the lack of a big enough community facility and also the lack of an indoor sports facility. Now, the truth is that I'm not a sports person so I don't know if the sports need has been addressed in the last 3 decades but I suspect it has not so the observations from 1977 continue to have broad relevance today. And this opens up new avenues for discussion with regard to the proposed village hall.

A few weeks ago I was in Lytham St Annes and I visited a very fine building, the Lowther Pavilion. By the look of it, it must have been built in the last 20 odd years and its specification is remarkable. Apart from having a restaurant which seats 60 it also boasts a full stage with orchestra pit, dressing rooms, flexible seating in the auditorium area which also doubles as an indoor sports arena along with all the usual PA and lighting systems. In fact, the Lowther Pavilion is an interesting template, possibly on a slightly larger scale, for what could be created in Somerton.

The 1977 Draft Plan supported the idea for a multipurpose structure to address both sports and community needs and today it makes just as much, if not more sense. Its important to make the money work for the whole of the community and such a multipurpose structure would, I am certain, be able to attract additional funding (Sport England?).

The Town Council's current proposed route - to take something around £400k and build a facility limited by that budget - is shortsighted and misses the wider opportunity. But I doubt that concerns the Town Council because I believe that they are less interested in building a community facility for Somerton and far more interested in building a monument to themselves. And £400k can build a pretty spiffy monument don't you think?

Till next time.