Tired old Ferneham Hall to get a multi-million pound refurbishment

FERNEHAM HALL, Fareham’s top venue for stage shows, exhibitions and main events will be closed at the end of 2019 for a massive multi-million pound overhaul to meet 21st Century demands. After almost 40 years’ service, the building is looking tired, dated and in need of a facelift and the Executive decided it was time to meet modern community demands. Portchester Councillor Sue Bell, executive member for leisure and community, said: “In 2015, a feasibility study showed the layout and design no longer met customer expectations which have changed significantly since 1982.    It means temporary venues will have to be found elsewhere across the Borough and when the hall reopens it will be under a new management structure. But it will also fulfil one of the Conservative Council’s long-awaited ambitions to provide a community venue in the town centre. Councillor Bell said: “Remodelling of Ferneham Hall offers a real opportunity to combine a new arts and entertainment venue with a busy community facility. “A key part of this vision is to plan a new facility which will be more commercial in its outlook and this will be achieved by appointing an operator.” Today’s patrons demand large, air-conditioned buildings with space and natural light, auditoria with comfortable seats, unrestricted views, wheelchair access and café facilities.

So the new Ferneham Hall will include:

•Alterations to foyer and box office area to provide a sense of arrival

•Improved audience facilities, toilets, catering areas, in terms of comfort, appearance and overall experience Improved access including a lift

•Fuel efficiency – individual parts to be lit, heated and ventilated independently •Improved cast/crew areas, including stage and backstage, to support high quality performances

•Community rooms for hire and/or workshops enabling venue to operate as a busy community centre •Reduce size, improve comfort of main auditorium to suit audience numbers (400-500 seats)

•Smaller, intimate secondary performance space (100 seats) including screen and projector room

•Options for retractable seating and dance studio with sprung floor

When it reopens it will be under the management of a leisure trust operator.  Future operations will be based on the premise that the Borough Council owns the hall, the leisure trust manages it and the Council pays an annual revenue contribution to the trust until there is no deficit.  Sue Bell added: “Our vision is to provide a busy community and entertainment venue which includes daytime and evening activity, seven days a week.  “Our new-look building will offer a great choice of entertainment and provide new community facilities for those living around the town centre.”