A month and a bit ago, Haslemere Vision organised a workshop for residents and local businesses to have a say in the common land Fairground site on Wey Hill.
Here is the press release from Haslemere Vision team following the workshop.
Wey Hill Fairground Workshop 21st June, The Wey Centre.
It was clear that those who attended Haslemere Vision’s Wey Hill Fairground Common Workshop Sat 21st June 2pm-5.30pm thought that it was a very worthwhile, meaningful and entertaining consultation exercise. Of the 50 plus local residents who devoted a hot Summer’s afternoon to sharing their ideas, representing a wide range of ages, occupations and opinions there was a strikingly clear consensus that The Fairground Common Site is a highly valuable site and should be restored for community use. Merely to repave the site as a charging car park was seen to be a tragic loss to the community. It was strongly felt that as a crucial and pivotal community space it could potentially regenerate Wey Hill and the town for generations to come.
Ideas for the site ranged from return to a green common with pond for recreational use, enhancing the setting to St. Christopher’s Grade II listed church to a comprehensive mixed use development providing homes and jobs for the local community, to a Community Interest Haslemere Spa water company providing yearly income for the town for public works and services, producing pure Spring Water from Haslemere from the nearby spring in Wey Springs that used to feed the Laundry that was on the site next to Majestics, rekindling Haslemere’s reputation as a spa town. Adjacent to this could be a local micro brewery providing employment and potentially reviving local pubs.
The decked solution to car parking which emerged in the workshop, taking advantage of the Fairground’s level change, means that whatever the wider solution for commuter and shopper parking in Wey Hill is developed, parking will not be a hindrance to developing the fairground for community use.
Six out of the seven workshop tables agreed that a small square, allotments or simple green public open space could be developed above the car park. This could be used for a wide range of community uses including markets, fairs, performance and as an informal community hub. The existing recycling facility was felt to be a significant service for the community.
An exciting idea emerged on one table of developing The Wey Centre as a multi use facility for youth but also for the broader community as an Arts and Community Centre with an amphitheatre in a new square operating in a similar way to the West End Centre in Aldershot or the Arts Centre in Cranleigh.
Proposals from one group suggested Haslemere took over parking control with the receipts going back directly to Haslemere. Under the right to bid for services this of course would be entirely possible under the Localism Act with a community interest company managing car parking into the future ensuring accountability to the local community. This is of course the same Act that led to the setting up of Haslemere Vision with delegated powers from Haslemere Town Council to develop a neighbourhood plan for Haslemere through extensive community consultation through workshops such as this.
All the ideas developed in the workshop and will be recorded along with numbers, demographics and a description of the day into a robust record of the day’s consultation which will be published.