A COMMUNITY group with designs on an old art school are drawing on Hereford’s Regency past for inspiration.
The Friends of Castle Green (FCG) have this week sketched out their most ambitious project to date - converting what’s long been called the “canoe centre”.
FCG sees the site as so much more, planning a whole new future for the site rooted in its Regency origins.
Negotiations between FCG and Herefordshire Council are so far advanced that the site’s restoration could be launched as soon as the Friend’s Christmas Fayre next Sunday (Dec 2).
Before being labelled as the Canoe Centre, the building was an art college and has, in fact, taken on several roles over recent years.
FCG has ambitious ideas for a full Regency restoration so the site - originally gifted to the city - gets a fitting and self-sustaining future.
“The timing could not have been more perfect,” said FCG chair Mark Hubbard. “Council budget cuts were threatening the long term future of the youth canoe facility and we have pledged to do everything in our power to keep it running.”
Ideas already discussed by an FFG steering group include an education offer, river activities, a community festival and events management service and a cafe/restaurant/bar.
Amanda Attfield, steering group chairman, said the building will be open for the public to see its potential for themselves at the Christmas Fayre.
“We’d like to hear what people think of our plans and for them to make suggestions of their own. We want the community to be at the heart of this building’s future, indeed it is the only way we shall succeed,” she said.
FCG identified the old art college as a medium/long term project some years ago. It is currently run by Hoople Ltd as the Castle Green Training Centre and houses the council’s Youth Canoe Centre, recently earmarked for a commercial viability test or even closure.