Four Marks has grown substantially since the existing Village Hall was built some fifty years ago. This expansion is continuing and the future will undoubtedly bring yet more houses, and consequently more residents, with no improvements in infrastructure.
A project for a joint community facility to provide a youth sports building between the Parish Council and the Four Marks Scout Group had previously been discussed, however anticipated funding from the District Council was not forthcoming so the Parish Council had no option but to withdraw from the project. The Scout Group were keen to continue pursuing the possibility of building a new Scout Hut as Phase I of the initial project, with the Parish Council building Phase II, when funds allowed. However the Scouts, despite a number of successful fund raising activities and two successful planning applications, were unable to raise enough funds to build a new facility. The Scout Hut has increasing maintenance requirements and with an increasing membership require a larger facility.
The existing Village Hall has problems of inadequate parking, lack of capacity to accept all bookings, increasing maintenance requirements, and facilities which do not match newer halls, although does have the advantage of a site right in the centre of the village in Lymington Bottom.
The Benians Pavilion is a sports pavilion, built in 1999, which serves the local sports clubs with changing rooms, lounge area and bar facilities. The Committee who run the Pavilion are looking to expand the bar area internally to make the building more sociable and user friendly for its current users. The feasibility of expanding the Pavilion was considered and discounted.
A consultation was held in Autumn 2018 on the desirability of building a large, new hall, capable of accommodating all existing and new community groups and other users. Options were presented to replace the hall, and a suggested location for a new building at the Recreation Ground was proposed as enlarging the current Village Hall would not be an option due to the planning requirement for adequate parking.
Consultation Form and Presentation given at the Full Council Meeting on Wednesday 17th October 2018
Subsequent to the consultation, a survey was carried out and although the majority indicated their preference being a new facility at the Recreation Ground, there were a high number of responses wishing the location of the facility to remain on the Village Hall site. No other locations to site a new building were identified. To fund a larger facility the Village Hall site would need to be sold to raise funds, however due to reticence in this regard, the project was put on hold until after the Parish Council elections in May 2019.
A new working party consisting, at this stage, of Councillors was formed with a remit to look at providing a new smaller facility to enhance the current facilities rather than replace them. Detailed research has been undertaken, together with site visits to other local venues, to get a better idea of what facilities are popular and would be cost effective to provide. Indicative designs have been prepared based on those visits, with an associated business plan to follow.