New 300 seat Community Hall for Poundbury approved

Aerial drawing of the new Crown Hall in Poundbury
Aerial drawing of the new Crown Hall in Poundbury. Copyright Duchy of Cornwall

A planning application has been approved for a new community hall in the North East Quadrant.

Plans submitted by the Duchy of Cornwall for Crown Hall, designed by leading architect Ben Pentreath, show the hall is suitable for 300 seats and will be the scale of a town hall.

The building will be set in the heart of Crown Square, which will be lined with larger civic style buildings providing a mix of shops, offices and residential uses.

The Planning Committee at West Dorset District Council approved the application, which included a commercial unit and 20 apartments, on 17 February. 

The Duchy is obliged to provide a second community hall by the time the 601st dwelling is occupied in Phases 3 and 4 which includes the North East Quadrant. 

However, The Duchy’s Deputy Estate Director Ben Murphy confirmed a review will soon be under way on the potential for Crown Hall in the North East Quadrant, in light of other community facilities in the pipeline and concerns raised by many residents and stakeholders about over provision of facilities leading to “white elephants”. 

He said: “We believe the detailed planning application illustrates how Crown Hall was designed to satisfy the brief for a new 300 seater community hall in Poundbury. Crown Hall is a prominent building sitting at the heart of Crown Square – the main commercial square in this quadrant. 

“The building itself is designed with good accessibility in mind for a community hall, with sufficient parking and pedestrian connections to the wider Poundbury community.”

The current configuration of the building is flexible so that it can be changed to suit the exact needs of the hall operator.

Mr Murphy expressed that the Duchy of Cornwall intends to consult widely before final plans for the hall are confirmed. 

He added: “I would like to confirm that the Duchy of Cornwall intends to work with West Dorset District Council and consult widely with Poundbury residents and businesses in the Spring of 2017 in order to objectively assess the need and viability of a new community hall including the size, specification and location of the new facility.

“This is because the new community facilities, both developed and in the pipeline, and the district council’s own audit of community facilities have raised some valid questions over the demand, operation and viability of such a facility.”

All drawings by Ben Pentreath and copyright Duchy of Cornwall


In addition to plans for the new community hall The Duchy confirmed its consultation will include all the facilities planned for the Great Field including children’s play equipment, a pavilion, skate park and BMX Track, tree planting and new allotments.

This year will also see the opening of Damers First School, and the new Dorchester Community Church Hall in the North East Quadrant.

Close by in Pummery Square sits the Brownsword Hall, which is currently used by the community and can sit 80 people. In addition to this there is growing support in the town to fund the new Maltings Arts Centre in Brewery Square.

Do you want to see the full plan?

Visit the application here.

Read More

Photo slideshow: Discovering the North East Quadrant

Plans revealed for new Dorchester arts centre




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